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The Preview: Blues v Wigan Athletic

Posted: Tue 29 Apr 2014
Author: bcfc.com

bcfc.com previews tonight's crucial Sky Bet Championship game against Wigan Athletic at St. Andrew's (7.45pm kick-off).

Lee Clark on the reaction following Saturday's defeat to Leeds United...
"It hurts to the pit of your stomach but we’ve got no time to dwell on it or for self-pity. We have to pick ourselves up. I worked with the group that didn’t play on Saturday and took them out on training on Sunday and then spoke with the other lads that did play. So we had a very productive day at the training ground and now we’re looking forward to getting at least the four points that we need to stay in the division."

Clark on the need for his players to improve defensively...
"We just need to keep working with the players and point them in the right direction. We show them what the strengths and weaknesses are of the opposition and tell them what’s required. We did it very well in the first half against Leeds. There were no goals against and we did well going forward, so we combined both. Obviously the two goals we conceded in quick succession weren’t what we wanted. We have to eradicate the types of goals that are going in. I think we’ve been undone by two big powerful strikers in the last two home games. Wigan play in a different manner so we have to be aware of what they’ve got."

Clark on Wigan's style of play...
"They play from the back and take risks with their passing. One or two of their passes might not hit the target and we can react off that. We can play a high intensity game against them and try and force them into errors. They’re a good team and being where they are in the table is no fluke. Uwe (Rosler) has done a good job and has had good backing from the chairman in the transfer market."

Clark asked if Wigan will be nervous as they look to cement a play-off spot...
"They’ve got tension in their game as well, but for different reasons. Wigan have said all along that their priority is to get the club back in to the Premier League and they’ve spent the money to do that. They’ve lost a few matches so they’ll have tension in their game as well until they’re mathematically certain of a play-off place. I think they will eventually get it but I’m hoping they will have to do it in the last game of the season."

Clark on the need for points...
"The players and I believe we can get the four points which will see us safe. The players have done it before and what I see every day in training makes me believe we can do it. We want to go out with a bang in the last home game, in terms of winning."

Wigan boss Uwe Rosler's comments ahead of the game...
“We’re all looking forward to the game and there’s a great spirit in the camp that we are going to achieve what we set out to do. These pressure situations are exactly what we play this sport for, we want to have games that mean something to us and we want to have something to fight for, that’s exactly what we’ve got against Birmingham City. I prefer the pressure we have got on us compared to the pressure Birmingham have got on themselves. There is pressure in the game and it will count for something for either team in the end, but in terms of form going into the game, we are at the stage of the season when it doesn’t really mean much."

After tonight's game...
Please note that although this is the final home fixture of the 2013/14 campaign, players will show their gratitude to all supporters at the final whistle, but will not return for a lap of appreciation.

Blues team news...
On-loan Manchester United defender Tom Thorpe injured his ankle in the defeat against Leeds United at the weekend and will miss Blues' final two games of the season. The experienced Hayden Mullins has been recalled early from his loan spell at league one side Notts County and could go straight into the centre of defence against the Latics. Captain Paul Robinson serves out the final game of his three match ban for having amassed 15 yellow cards. Will Packwood (hamstring), Brian Howard (quad) and Peter Lovenkrands (ankle) are doubts while Blues still have Neal Eardley (knee) and Matt Green (knee) out.

Betting...
If you want to place a bet on the game, use Sky Bet and they will give a share of the revenue back to Blues. Plus sign-up now and get a free matched bet up to £30. Just click here. Looking to this evening's game, a Blues win or the draw is priced at 12/5 and a Wigan victory at 11/10.

Tickets...
Prices have been slashed for this game as follows:
Adult - £10
Senior (65+) - £5
Student - £5
13-18 Years - £5
Under 13 - £1

Click here for more details.

Stat pack...
- Wigan Athletic have not beaten Blues in their eight visits to St. Andrew's.
- The Latics have lost their last two games against Blackpool and Burnley 2-0.
- Tonight's referee Andy Woolmer, was the man-in-the-middle the last time Blues won a home league game when they trounced Millwall 4-0 in October. 
- There have been a total of 16 league and cup meetings between the sides. Blues have won five of those, there have been seven draws and Wigan have won four.
- When the teams met in the corresponding Sky Bet Championship fixture at the DW Stadium on December 26, the match finished in a 0-0 draw despite Blues being reduced to ten men after 62 minutes when former loanee Jesse Lingard was sent off.
- If Jonathan Spector plays tonight it will be his 100th Blues appearance.