It's everyone's favourite derby this weekend, commonly known as the Pieside Derby. Except I'm pretty sure that it isn't anyone's favourite derby, and I made up the Pieside bit 5 minutes ago. This is actually usually on of my least favourite fixtures because it tends to end in scoreless draws, or at best a 1-0 win. But, given the fact that this match has snow-balled into a must-win, perhaps a soothing 1-0 win is just what the doctor ordered for the beleaguered men in white. Not that the Lactics are much better off themselves. They're only 2 points above us in the table, and have a losing streak of their own having lost their last 4 matches. Both teams need this match.
There is, however, some good news. Jussi Jaselainen (back from injury), Gael Kakuta (back form ineligibility), Ivan Klasnic, and David Wheater (both back from suspension) will all be returning to the squad, providing some much needed options. After Bogdan's dodgy display, it will be a relief to see Jussi back between the posts. Klasnic hopefully spent the ban reflecting on his goal scoring form, and will get back to that, aided no doubt by increased attacking spice from Kakuta.
Wigan have good team news as well, in that aside from some long termers they have a full squad. One of those long termers is Hugo Rodallega, a prospect I never like, so it does help that he's out. The player I'm least looing forward to facing is our ex #2, Ali Al Habsi. After Bogdan's performance it's looking more and more like selling him was a mistake, as he was a solid keeper all of last season. I'm sure that in a predictably sad turn of events, he'll have a stunner and be man of the match.
While this match probably won't to be a good advertisement for football, it's a high stakes game for both sides. Both Martinez and Coyle have had good relationships with the fans, and now is their chance to save both that and the season in general. Biggest 90 minutes of the season yet, and the true test of the team starts now,