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Wigan Athletic vs. Burnley

DW Stadium

Saturday 20th March 2010

3pm

Wigan't Afford to Lose This One

All Clarets fans were in the depths of depression last Saturday after losing at home to Wolves in a vital six-pointer against a fellow side struggling to avoid the drop. That defeat kept us third from bottom with those clubs just above us now opening up a gap. We are now three points adrift of Wolves who are currently 4th from bottom and we have played a game more. Burnley now visit Wigan at the DW Stadium on Saturday and the Latics are another team struggling to avoid relegation. This match is therefore yet another six-pointer for the Clarets. One word sums Wigan up this season and that word is inconsistent. We just don`t know which team will turn up. Will it be the one that beat Liverpool 1-0 at home recently or the one that got thumped at the Reebok losing 4-0 to Bolton? Wigan suffered a 2-1 home defeat to Aston Villa in midweek and just like us have only won one league game in the last ten. They currently sit in 15th spot on 28 points just four clear of the Clarets having played the same number of games.

With games rapidly running out for the Clarets, three points in this match and our first away win of the season would be a massive, massive boost with just seven games to play after that and with the Blackburn Rovers game at Turf Moor coming up next. We just have to shout our hearts out for the Clarets in this match and put all our thoughts about the manager good or bad behind us. There is no call for booing your own manager or players when we can still survive the drop. The ominous worrying signs lately of Clarets fans verbal taunts on the pitch simply undermine confidence even more and should be resisted at all cost. We have a battle to win, let`s make sure we win it! Up the Clarets!

Predicted Team Sheet

There seems a strong chance that Steven Fletcher will be back in the side after missing the last three matches due to a broken bone in the hand. It is difficult to know who Laws would drop though with both Paterson and Nugent scoring of late and putting in solid performances. Indeed Laws might be tempted to select all three since we really have to get goals and three points in this game. Fletcher and Nugent up front as a twin strike-force with Pato playing a wider role does have some appeal.

The gaffer could have some selection dilemmas in midfield too with news that Jack Cork and Kevin McDonald look to be back in contention after missing the Wolves game through injury.

I would play the following not that I think Laws would agree with me but how does this sound?

Jensen, Mears, Carlisle, Cort, Fox, Alexander, Eagles, McDonald, Paterson, Fletcher, Nugent

Subs: Weaver, Duff, Jordan, Bikey, Elliott or Cork, Blake, Thompson

Wigan Athletic Team News:

Wigan key midfielder Charles N'Zogbia is doubtful for this clash. N'Zogbia picked up a hip injury during the defeat by Aston Villa on Tuesday night in midweek and is rated 50-50 by manager Roberto Martinez. I bet he plays! Victor Moses is likely to be his replacement.

Their captain Mario Melchiot is due to return to training after a thigh injury but is not expected to feature against the Clarets.

Player to watch: Gary Caldwell

There is no doubt that Burnley will have to score in this game with three-points almost a definite requirement if we are to stay up this season. One person trying to stop us will be Wigan`s centre back, Gary Caldwell brother of course of our own captain, Steven Caldwell.

The 27 year old Scottish international defender joined Wigan from Celtic only last January for an undisclosed fee signing a four-and-a-half year deal. Steven might not be able to face up to Gary on the pitch due to his own injury problems but he might be able to tip of his colleagues of some of his brother`s areas of weakness.

Burnley Team News:

Steven Fletcher is understood to be fit enough to play after being sidelined with a broken hand for the last three games.

Chris McCann still seems to be struggling with his knee injury and suffered a further set-back in midweek when he was deemed unfit to play in a Reserves match against Manchester United. Steven Caldwell although making progress is also doubtful with his persistent groin problem.

Caldwell could therefore miss out on a chance to play against his brother, Gary in the Wigan team

'I'm not ruling it out, although the game will probably come too quickly for me and that would be extremely disappointing,' said Caldwell.

'I don't know who the family will be supporting. It will be very difficult. I'm pretty sure that if I'm not playing they will be hoping Wigan do well and it will save them a lot of trouble.

'Obviously I hope Burnley win and Gary has a good game but maybe lets us score a few goals.'

There is better news though on three of our other injured players. Danny Fox had to be given oxygen for a suspected broken rib against Wolves on Saturday. He also then had to be stretchered off but there was good news later when it was revealed that the injury was not as serious as first feared with Laws hopeful he could be fit enough to play against Wigan.

Laws will also get more options in midfield at the DW Stadium with the news that both Kevin McDonald (back injury) and Jack Cork (calf injury) have made good recoveries and should be available to play. The pair missed the game against Wolves due to injury.

Brian Laws has also revealed that Clarke Carlisle has been suffering from a badly bruised and swollen toe; a condition that has required injections in order to get through recent matches.

Player to watch: Steven Fletcher

Fletcher has missed the last three games with a broken hand but is now believed to be in contention for a starting eleven place against Wigan. Our leading goal-scorer has been missed although both Martin Paterson and David Nugent have played well in his absence and it will be interesting to see if all three players are accommodated in the team on Saturday or whether someone will lose out.

Back to the Future

Our last game against Wigan back in October last year was a miserable affair for Clarets fans and we tasted our first defeat at home in the top-flight since promotion. The tall, physical presence of the Wigan attack that day was far too strong for us and we lost the game 3-1. Steven Fletcher got our goal that day and the match will also be remembered for an injury to Brian Jensen in the first half. Diego Penny came on to replace him and make a rare appearance with just 15 minutes of the game played.

The last time Burnley were in the top flight in 1975-76, if you mentioned Wigan you only thought of Eddie Waring and Rugby League! Wigan Athletic had been in existence since 1932 but were a non-league club. They only became an English League club in 2 June 1978 with poor Southport losing out after finishing bottom of Division 4 at the end of 1977-8. The rest they say is history.

Since that time we have played Wigan 19 times in the lower leagues and in cup games and have won just 2 of them with 7 draws.

Ref Watch:

Chester official Mike Jones is our referee for this one and everybody remembers him as soon as you say beach ball!! (Allowing Darren Bents beach-ball goal for Sunderland against Liverpool back in October ring any bells?) He has been in charge of just two of our league games this season both at home against Hull and then Fulham. Jones was also the referee in our FA Cup defeat away to Reading back in January this year.

Match Prediction:

I was on a right downer after the Wolves game and in our prediction league gave Wigan a 4-0 victory over us. I have been told to be more positive and on the assumption surely we have to win one game on the road this season and the fact I now have this strange, sneaky feeling it is our turn at long last, I will go with 1-0 Clarets!

Next Match

It is time for the East Lancs Bragging Rights to shift from Ewood Park to Turf Moor. Yes, it`s the visit of Blackburn Rovers to Turf Moor on Sunday 28th March. Do not forget also the clocks go forward on the Saturday night and in consideration of everybody it has been decided to make this a 12 noon Kick-Off. Yeah right thanks a bundle!!




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The Journalist

Writer: turfmanphil Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Friday March 19 2010

Time: 11:57AM

Your Comments

It is too much to ask for one away win,God? Is it too much to ask for just a little bit of luck?
turfmanphil
Sorry TMP, but for me it's time for a change at the back. Too many times we have looked vulnerable and especially of late against teams as weak as us. Therefore, i would select the following....Weaver----Mears,Edgar,Cort,Jordan----Pato,Cork,Alexander,Bikey,Eagles----Nugent.
OooDavidEyres
i like that team d/e could be the way to go.
palsdad
No Fletcher then? It is intriguing me to know what Laws will do in attack. This is one statistic i hope we shatter-Burnley have never won a competitive match away to Wigan. They have lost five of their 10 games away to the Latics.
turfmanphil
I'm assuming Fletcher isn't 100% fit. It was also hard not to include Robbie. To be honest though, it's got to the stage where I don't really care who plays or where just as long as we get a bloody result!!!
OooDavidEyres
I am trying to whip up enthusiasm for the Wigan game this Saturday but seem to be failing miserably. I think I need a happy pill or summat. I just keep getting this negative thought in my head that it's going to be the same old,same old! Lots of early promise then bam wham bam and another 3-0 defeat and dodging the gloating home fans again! :-(
turfmanphil
I reckon the less build up and anticipation the better for the rest of the season. Whenever we get excited or expectant we get punished.
OooDavidEyres
I was sincerely hoping you guys would survive, but after last week's loss, I just can't see how. This might be the last stand. Good luck. I'll be cheering for you.
Teddy_KGB
Not sure I am ready for 90 minutes of Bikey...my nerves are shot enough....add Jordan and I will be a wreck.....it may work and I am not forgetting Jordans display against Arsenal...but this season he has made me nervous more than most! Dropping Beast and Carlisle I could accept. Funny old game, opinions and more opinions...McDonald was back to his best in that last 45 minutes, I would want him ahead of Bikey. I am struggling like tmp, defeat tomorrow will mean even my eternal optimism..may just waver....
VinRogue
Robbie has got to play , look at how things changed when he came on against Wolves. But yes, as you say VR, opinions,opinions and we've all got them ! I'm hoping for a dramatic return to form that will at least shut the boo boys down, and possibly nick this one. On the other hand I'll settle for a totally unimpressive Wolves type performance with us nicking the points with no justification whatsoever. This could go either way but if it goes their way it's going to look grim.
WelshClaret
I think for the biggest lift in spirits we need to keep a clean sheet and maybe nick a goal or two. I can't remember our last clean sheet.........
VinRogue
Was way back in October I think Vin and I remember writing in WTBM at the start of the season that we would need around eight clean sheets to guarantee safety. We could still get that of course but it is a pretty tall order. A scruffy 1-0 will do me tomorrow.
RickersTwickers
I have been looking on the bright side for a long time now, but the closer it gets to Saturday the more my nerves are telling me that lose this game and with 7 left and spirits at an all time low..it could be curtains tomorrow. I will be cheering like mad for the whole game no matter what...and back on here late tomorrow night.
VinRogue
I'm with Welsh, must start with Robbie. Also must NOT start with Bikey. He is poor in midfield and also seems to be the first to give up when we are down and, like Vin, he's bad for my nerves. I'd start with Fletcher and Nugent up front. Normally I'd ease Fletcher back but he does so much running that the rest has probably done him good rather than taken the edge off. Nugent is our best finisher, especially with headers. In defence I'd bring in Duff, who has done well and who will also be fresh and psychologically undamaged! The rest are much of a muchness really. I'm nowhere near as nervous for this one as I was last week and I suspect the players will play with more freedom too - what's to lose? Fear has affected us and we can win today although a lot depends on Wigan who have suprised me being at the bottom. I thought they were good at the Turf and I like their manager. We can win this one.
ozjean
We just have to win this one, I honestly do not believe even a draw will be enough. So, is it to be back to the Susan approach attack, attack, attack? I think so but the midfield and defence will have to be on their toes and 100% aware for 100% of the time and not suffer the lapses that cost us so dear in Susan times. Eagles and Blake simply must start and I would also play Fletcher, Paterson and Nugent, with Jenson, Mears, Carlisle, Cort, Fox and Alexander.
cornwallclaret
We have shown signs of defensive improvements lately gaffes excepted, but Wigan are a handful and no mistake. He won't change it at the back now they are playing each game with each other, and he must play three in midfield, which would be Alex, Bikey and Big Mac I would guess. Bikey played well against Chelsea and they are a similar type of midfield. Wings are the only choices, for me Eagles away from home will get space, Patto is undropable at the mo, so Nugent up front. Fletch and Blakey on from 60 mins. This match is all about Wigan - which will turn up. But if we lose, it's still not all over. It would just be a huge challenge instead. We had a one of four chance of going up through the play offs, about the same as our chances of staying up now!
CrosspoolClarets
Top scorer Steven Fletcher back in the starting line-up as follows: Burnley: Jensen, Jordan, Duff, Cort, Mears, Alexander, Elliott, McDonald, Paterson, Nugent, Fletcher. Subs: Eagles, Weaver, Bikey, Thompson, Blake, Cork, Edgar Wigan: Kirkland, Melchiot, Caldwell, Bramble, Figueroa, McCarthy, Scharner, Diame, Thomas, Moreno, Rodallega. Subs: Gohouri, Amaya, Scotland, Moses, Gomez, Sinclair, Stjkovic.
8clarets8
I can't believe that Elliott is getting yet another start - is he related to the chairman? Unbelievable. A game we need to win and Eagles, Cork and Blake don't start. Going off the starting line -up, I'll bet Wigan over run us in midfield and Blake and Cork will be brought on with 20 minutes to go when we are 3-0 down. Mad. Law's has got no idea and I am saying this before the kick-off. Hope I'm proved wrong. At least he didn't play Bikley.
ozjean
Half-time Wigan 0-0 Burnley, both sides with chances, Burnley need to take them in the second-half, Come on you Clarets!!!!
8clarets8
Half time 0-0. I knew it, midfield non-existant against another very poor side. Again no penetration - no guile, no crosses, no nothing. I like Laws as a person but I really think he's got no idea tactically. BRING ON BLAKE AND EAGLES. At least Duff has been good again. He should stay - looks a lot more steady than the others.
ozjean
Free-kick to Burnley just outside the box Alexander just over the bar, ozjean you are more than welcome to join us in the matchday mayhem thread, hit the forums at the top then look for the matchday mayhem thread :-)
8clarets8
Bramble about time gets a yellow card, Fletcher goes off Robbie Blake on.
8clarets8
Paterson skims the bar unlucky lad!!
8clarets8
Nugent with a good chance falls off balanced, Duff gets a yellow card
8clarets8
Paterson goes off for Eagles
8clarets8
Come on Burnley!!!!!!
julieloveshenry4ever
Scotlands effort turned over from Jenson and again two good saves from the Beast cheers julie :-)
8clarets8
All that hard work Wigan score in extra-time our luck is *****e.........
8clarets8
Hard to take that we deserved at least a point Wigan 1-0 Burnley
8clarets8
I agree we deserved a point but that would have been no good anyway. Truth was Wigan, like Wolves were very poor but we still didn't look like beating them. What did their goalie have to save? Nothing, because we didn't play players that could put any crosses over. I thought Duff and Jordan did okay but lets face it, we are just not good enough. One point away from home is just crap and a poor midfield and a complete lack of luck is too much for us to overcome. Hard luck lads - better luck next season.
ozjean
We needed attackers and ball players, Eagles and Blake from the start. It had to be a win. Nice man Mr Laws came highly recommended by a firm of accountants and it shows on the pitch. Who will be left next season after profits have been taken on any players who want out, Eagles for one? or who we can sell at a profit. Championship for ever!!! Anyway, thanks to the players for what they did, especially Pato, but why did he get substituted when all out attack was so obviously needed?
cornwallclaret
And, that will do it.
Teddy_KGB
We kept a clean sheet for 92 minutes, worked hard and at times rode our luck for a change. Didn't have much luck going forward but 92 minutes of hard work, effort and endeavour. I have always believed that our luck would change and it would even itself out, today on 92 minutes I realised luck never shows on the points total you have. I am truly gutted more than any other game so far this season as I know Laws will get the flack for the defeat and the players and the defence and the board and the tea lady....gutted
VinRogue
why would a fan throw a coin at a player and then why would the hole crowd shout 'we are burnly' like you are proud of it??
lathamwafc
Perhaps maybe because it would appear the whole of the Wigan fans presumed by your abuse and shouting that we had all thrown something. Sadly if something was thrown then I hope the moron is found and dealt with, however shouting abuse at the remainder of us who did not throw anything will indeed result in a sing song.....I am afraid we haven't yet invented a song that says We are all truly sorry a moron has turned up and may we apologise. I would think neither have you either. Finally for any Wigan fans reading this I for one am seriously disgusted at any Burnley Fan who if proven threw something at Kirkland and hope they get the maximum punishent.
VinRogue
lathamwafc Surely you don't think any fans would be proud of that? I thought we played really well, best under Mr Laws at least unlucky once again!! it seems we can't get any luck at all this season, First-half Burnley 6 shots on target, Wigan 1, up or down we will always be a claret.
8clarets8
look at the second half though
lathamwafc
Yeah great come back lathamwafc? we agree if anybody did that then we are fully against it, you won did you not? stop trying to belittle our fans as thugs or something!!
8clarets8
Ahhh this can be such a cruel game, VR, I have to agree gutted is the only word I can think of! Shows you need to play to the final whistle and never take a result for granted(I think Hull fans may be feeling that this morning as well). I fear our fate is now sealed. Mr Laws please let the boys off the leash and enjoy the last 7 games, dont care if we lose 3 or 4 nil each game, let them enjoy the ride and have a crack, who knows what can happen. UTC!!!
AussieClaret
Come on, you guys, you can still beat the drop. How did Cork play?
JT_daniel
Curious as to how ozjean rated Elliott's performance.
Couch Potato
Cornwall - You say why did Pato get subbed when all out attack was needed - Who should have been subbed to bring Eagles on?
Claretdale
What is it about a football match result that ends up wrecking your weekend ? 'Gutted' doesn't describe it VR. I was listening to the match on Claretplayer and was hopeful to the end , until the 93rd minute in fact. I'm not going to comment on player selection or Brian Laws, they're all doing their best under the circumstances. Imagine how they're feeling? It's not over, but it ain't looking good . . . . . . unless we beat Rovers and Wolves lose . . . . . . somebody stop me . . .
WelshClaret
You could not fault anybody yesterday. The team selection was right (considering the injuries) and the subs worked. The team played with confidence for 93 minutes and then that happens! It just always seems to happen when you are struggling. There seems to be a mixture of managerial decisions not working, players making costly individual errors and then you get no luck like hitting the woodwork or conceding a gut-wrenching goal against you with less that a minute to play! If one doesn't bite you in the bum,the other does. The other thing I forgot to mention is that other clubs then start giving our rivals a breathing space (Villa 2-2 Wolves). Yeah thanks a lot, nobody ever gives us a break do they? I am pretty damn sure there is not much to choose between the bottom six clubs but we look to be the main whipping boys at the moment. [Edited by turfmanphil]
turfmanphil
Phil - that is pretty much bang on the money.
Claretdale
Agree with CD, agreeing with Phil. And yes, WelshCl, there have been too many weekends like this. They become a mental struggle, even though we were all expecting it back in August.
Couch Potato
Thats another agree from me too. I wrote before the game on one of the threads that Bikey and Jordan in the same team would do my nerves in. I don't dislike Jordan but I just think he can be so rash and out of position and he proved it again imo. I still wouldn't mark him too badly out of 10, as for 92 minutes he had given his whole just like the rest of the players. Me and minivr have renewed our season tickets and been credited with a shed more loyalty points.....win lose or draw CLARETS FOREVER.
VinRogue
Glad to hear that we couldn't fault anyone tmp, that's what it sounded like on C.Player, but always better to see it live and get the whole picture. I hate going on about the luck aspect but we sure as hell aren't getting the breaks at the moment and that does seem to be the norm when you're struggling. One point from 9 now, and it could so easily have been anything between that and the whole 9 points. The other thing that struck me listening to C.Player was the tremendous support from the Claret fans , really good to hear.
WelshClaret
I have to admit to a terrible fault Couch - I had drunk a sufficient quantity of red wine before the game that my recollection of the game is severely impaired, including Elliotts performance! My hubby says I fell asleep at half time. I will therefore watch the replay before commenting further although I do remember the first half and parts of the second (after I woke up!). Don't get me wrong, I really like Elliott but he has played poorly for weeks and I think he needs a rest. As I've said before the players must be mentally tired and that's what is causing the increase in mistakes, especially from Carlisle. Thought Duff was great. Was Cork injured?
ozjean
Thanks for that very frank admission ozjean! Like welshclaret I was only listening to ClaretsPlayer, and nattering in the MatchDay Mayhem forum on VitalBurnley with palsdad and 8c8. (You should come and join us sometime. We even put on some half-time entertainment this week, and palsdad said he'd had quite a few lagers by the end!) The usually candid Phil Bird and his co-commentator made a number of very positive comments about Elliott, including 2 goal-line clearances. As I understand it, he and McDonald were playing just in front of Alexander; the commentators commented positively about this. I think it is to Wade's credit that he is able to play in this spot in McCann's absence, and with Bikey not showing enough consistency there. I suspect his form has dipped this year partly because of the extra demands of playing in the PL, but also because he has been asked to play in at least 3 positions with quite different demands. Asking whether Cork could have played there is a very valid question. I am unclear whether his preference is a holding or attacking midfield role. I don't know whether he was injured.
Couch Potato
 

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