With Wigan Athletic's relegation from the Premier League last year, the Latics find themselves in their natural position: looking up at Bolton Wanderers (hopefully for the whole season). Both sets of fans are understandably excited about the upcoming pair of derby clashes as the two sides haven't played since Wigan beat Bolton at the Reebok in February, 2012. The result that day was awful for Bolton as they were already waist-deep into the relegation battle but it was something else that happened ahead of the fixture that brought plenty of positives
Some of you will remember the Emma Hoolin Appeal and the Walk4Emma that aimed to raise money to fund the little girl's necessary treatment for Neuroblastoma, a very serious childhood cancer. Emma reached her goal and was able to receive treatment in the United States.
This brings us to the story of Joseph Kendrick, a three-and-a-half year old boy with NKH (Non-Ketotic Hyperglycinemia), a very rare and life-limiting genetic disorder that severely affects his development. Young Joseph is a big Wigan Athletic fan. If you watched the FA Cup Final between Wigan and Manchester City, you may remember seeing Joseph on the field, he was Wigan's mascot for the match and was carried onto the pitch by Emerson Boyce prior to kick-off at Wembley.
Joseph's Goal, a charity in his name, has been set up to, as the appeal's website eloquently put it: "increase awareness of NKH and to raise funds for research to find better treatments and eventually a cure. We are supporting Dr Johan Van Hove at the University of Colorado, who is the world leader in researching this condition. Because it is so rare and so little research has been done, literally every penny raised can and will make a difference."
This is where Bolton comes in. With yesterday's fixture release, we learned that Wigan Athletic will travel to the Reebok Stadium on 29 March, 2014. It is on that day that Wigan and Bolton supporters alike plan to start at the DW Stadium and make the long walk to the Reebok Stadium, raising awareness and funds for Joseph's Goal in the process.
We'll keep you informed of this great cause as the date draws nearer. Until then, do visit the Joseph's Goal website and see if you can help.