Wigan Athletic preview

Barclays Premier League
Wigan Athletic v West Ham United
JJB Stadium
Saturday 2 February
Referee: Martin Atkinson

WHUTV - Pre-match press conference available to watch NOW.

Team news

Tenth-placed West Ham United will look to follow up Wednesday's 1-0 win against Liverpool - thanks to Mark Noble's last-gasp penalty winner - with another league success at Wigan Athletic. The JJB Stadium is a happy hunting ground for the Hammers who have not lost in all five of their previous visits, winning four of those trips north. Wigan sit 18th in the top-flight after their 1-0 loss at Middlesbrough on Tuesday.

Alan Curbishley could have Danny Gabbidon, Nolberto Solano and Craig Bellamy in contention, with the manager set to assess his options after training today. Bobby Zamora will play in a practice game on Monday.  Julien Faubert is also back in full training after a calf strain kept him out in midweek. Matthew Etherington and Dean Ashton will hope to have done enough in their substitute appearances last time out to earn a starting berth. Kieron Dyer has reported good progress from his double leg-break while Scott Parker, out with a knee injury, is thought to be a month away.

James Collins' cruciate ligament damage will keep him out for at least six months, with Nigel Quashie (foot) and Calum Davenport (neck) also sidelined. John Pantsil is still on Africa Cup of Nations duty with Ghana, who will play Nigeria in the quarter-finals on Sunday, although Henri Camara, on loan from Wigan, is due back at the club after Senegal's elimination but is ineligible.

"More often than not the games where we turn up, roll our sleeves up and dig in, we give ourselves a chance," said Robert Green about Saturday's fixture. "We know we have got to do it against Wigan, as well as Liverpool, as well as anybody else." Such sentiments were echoed by Hayden Mullins, who believes the next month will be absolutely crucial. "It is a great chance for us to put on a serious run now and jump up the league, while being unnoticed."

Wigan were busy before the transfer window shut on Thursday, signing striker Marlon King from Watford, experienced Norway defender Erik Hagen on loan from Zenit St Petersburg, Sweden left-back Erik Edman and Honduras duo Manyor Figueroa and Wilson Palacios, a left-back and midfielder respectively. Wigan have no real injury problems, aside from concerns about King (knee) and Edman (calf).

Last time out

West Ham United v Liverpool: Green, Neill, Ferdinand, Upson, McCartney, Ljungberg, Noble, Mullins, Bowyer (Etherington 58), Boa Morte (Ashton 58), Cole (Spector 81)
Subs not used: Wright, Solano

Wigan Athletic v Middlesbrough: Kirkland, Melchiot, Bramble, Scharner, Kilbane, Valencia, Brown, Palacios, King (Koumas 53), Heskey, Bent (Sibierski 75).
Subs not used: Pollitt, Taylor, Boyce


Curbishley's side are in fine league form, with seven wins and five draws from the last 15 fixtures. The only three reverses came against strong opposition in the form of Chelsea, Everton and Arsenal. Victory could take the Hammers up to eighth - depending on Portsmouth and Blackburn Rovers, who begin the weekend one and two points ahead respectively. The club are eight points ahead of Tottenham Hotspur in eleventh, with a game in hand.

The teams' last met on 25 August at the Boleyn Ground, the second home fixture of the season. After a close-fought encounter, Paul Scharner put Wigan ahead on 78 minutes before Lee Bowyer equalised two minutes later and it finished 1-1.

The lineups were:
West Ham United: Green, Neill, Ferdinand, Upson, McCartney, Dyer, Noble, Mullins (Bowyer 65 ), Etherington, Zamora (Ashton 61 ),Bellamy (Boa Morte 75)
Subs not used: Walker, Spector

Wigan Athletic: Kirkland, Melchiot, Bramble, Granqvist, Kilbane, Valencia (Brown 77 ), Scharner, Landzaat, Koumas, Sibierski (Aghahowa 38 ), Heskey
Subs not used: Pollitt, Hall, Folan

The Hammers have still not lost in all eleven league games this season when they have taken the lead. George McCartney - who like Mark Noble and Luis Boa Morte is on four cautions and would earn a one-match ban if yellow-carded again before the trip to Fulham on 23 February - is bidding to make his 30th appearance this season in all competitions. He is the only West Ham United player who has featured in every game to date, starting in each one.

In terms of the Premier League, only Green and Upson have played every minute of the 23 matches. No other top-flight club still has two league ever-presents while Upson, along with Stephen Kelly of Birmingham City, is one of only two outfield players in the whole division to have achieved that feat. Ashton, with six goals, five in the league, is the club's leading scorer.

Wigan have lost their last three league and cup games but know a win could potentially lift them to 14th in the table. They have not won any of their last 15 meetings with London clubs, although have Marcus Bent in good form with seven top-flight goals. Similarly, Chris Kirkland and Emile Heskey have been called up by England for next week's friendly.

Head to head (last six league meetings)

25 August 2007 - West Ham United 1-1 Wigan Athletic
28 April 2007 - Wigan Athletic 0-3 West Ham United
6 December 2006 - West Ham United 0-2 Wigan Athletic
25 March 2006 - Wigan Athletic 1-2 West Ham United
28 December 2005 - West Ham United 0-2 Wigan Athletic
2 April 2005 - Wigan Athletic 1-2 West Ham United

Overall record v Wigan Athletic (all competitions): W 6, D 2, L 3

Barclays Premier League fixtures (all 3pm unless stated)

Saturday 2 February

Birmingham City v Derby County
Blackburn Rovers v Everton
Liverpool v Sunderland (5.15pm)
Manchester City v Arsenal (12.45pm)
Portsmouth v Chelsea
Reading v Bolton Wanderers
Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester United

Sunday 3 February

Fulham v Aston Villa (4pm)
Newcastle United v Middlesbrough (1.30pm)

General information

For ticket information, click here. For details of getting to the JJB Stadium, click here

Weather: The forecast is for a chilly afternoon, with the threat of sleet/snow. The temperature is set to peak at around 4C.