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FA Cup match preview: Bolton Wanderers v Wigan Athletic

Can the Wanderers extend their form to 7 games unbeaten at home? Neil Lennon’s side face the FA Cup Champions from 2013 at the Macron Stadium.

Bolton Wanderers have already beaten Wigan Athletic at home this season.
Bolton Wanderers have already beaten Wigan Athletic at home this season.
Gareth Copley/Getty Images

In their third game in quick succession Bolton Wanderers will host Wigan Athletic at home, which has the potential to be a mouthwatering Lancashire derby.

The visiting team enter the game in turmoil, as they have found themselves in hot waters both on and off the pitch. They currently join Blackpool at the foot of the SkyBet Championship table as their new manager, Malky Mackay, has failed to change the club's fortunes. After Tuesday's defeat at home to Sheffield Wednesday, Wigan occupy 23rd place in the table; However, they are only 3 points from safety and then another 9 points behind the Wanderers.

The club's reputation has also been tarnished off the pitch with Latics' chairman, Dave Whelan, making racist remarks. The Wigan owner has been given a six-week ban from all football-related activity and fined £50,000 for comments about Jewish and Chinese people. The 72-year-old is now unable to attend any of Wigan's fixtures or have an influence on the club's transfer negotiations.

The last time that the 2 sides met in the FA Cup was in February 2011, where it took the Wanderers a replay at the DW Stadium to secure their place in the fourth round. A clinical finish from Croatian Ivan Klasnic in the 66th minute was enough to silence an already quiet Wigan crowd.

Due to an already congested January fixture list, this may be a perfect opportunity for Neil Lennon to rotate his squad and give some of the club's youngsters a chance to impress. Craig Davies is expected to return from injury, however, there has been no official confirmation from the club about the 28-year-old's fitness.

In spite of Bolton's formidable home record and rejuvenation under Neil Lennon, they cannot underestimate the visitors, as Wigan's recent form in the FA Cup has been magnificent. Our Lancashire neighbours lifted the old trophy in 2013 and lightening nearly struck twice last year as they took the eventual winners, Arsenal, to a penalty shoot-out. This defeat ended Wigan's impressive 12 game unbeaten streak in the competition. Not bad at all.

Wigan have been allocated the whole of the lower tier for Saturday's game, however they are yet to sell out their allocation. Tickets are available for both sets of fans to pay on the gate before this Saturday's FA Cup third round fixture.

The referee will be Phil Dowd. (51)

Bolton to beat Wigan @ 7/5 (Ladbrokes)