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Preview: Blues v Wigan Athletic

Blues will be looking to build on on last weekend's away win at Rotherham when they host the Latics on Saturday.
Blues will be looking to build on on last weekend's away win at Rotherham when they host the Latics on Saturday.

The main focus is to win; we are in a job where we have to win no matter what. I want us to finish the season strong.

Garry Monk

Our full match preview ahead of Saturday's Sky Bet Championship fixture against the Latics at the St. Andrew's Trillion Trophy Stadium (3pm kick-off).

Garry Monk on the mood around the Club last weekend's crucial win against Rotherham United...
"Obviously it’s a good feeling. You could see that from the reaction of everyone and the fans at the end. But the most important bit is going into these last two games not looking over our shoulders - that’s been a big target all season long. Doing it with a couple of weeks to spare is a really pleasing factor. But as I said to the players after the game, there is a need to finish the season strong and it would be nice to finish the season unbeaten, especially in our last game at St. Andrew’s which has been a really important place for us."

Garry Monk asked he was considering freshening his side up for the last two games now that Blues are safe...
"The main focus is to win; we are in a job where we have to win no matter what. I want us to finish the season strong. It shows you how difficult and strange this league can be at times. We were on a five-game losing streak and now we are on a five-game unbeaten streak. That’s happened to a lot of clubs, our objective now is to try and finish the season unbeaten, hopefully with two wins. My decision making will be based on that not anything else. Especially on Saturday our last game at home we try and give us a performance that can give us more points."

Garry Monk on how much he was looking forward to walking out at St. Andrew's without the pressure...
"Afterwards we can have a little celebration with our fans and appreciation with each other. Even though you try and thrive off pressure that’s not a particularly nice anxiety to have but the demand is to go out there and perform. That won’t change now. Our last two 90 minutes together this season there has to be the demand of pushing ourselves to win these games. Hard work is the key."

Garry Monk on what he is expecting from Wigan...
"They have been on a very similar run to us, they have done very well against some really tough opponents and managed to pick up results they needed against good teams. That’s a fantastic achievement. I think Paul Cook has done a great job there, they came up, had a really good start, a difficult middle period - which you would expect from a promoted team - and they have had a strong ending. They will be thinking the same as us wanting to finish the season on a high. Congratulations to them, they have been fantastic, especially in the last month. A successful season for them, they will be happy they can plan and get ready for next season."

Blues team news...
Harlee Dean will miss out because he has to undergo surgery to repair a hernia problem. Maikel Kientbeld is missing with a knee injury. Connor Mahoney (hamstring) missed Blues last two games and is a doubt.

Wigan team news...
Midfielders Michael Jacobs and Callum McManaman are both ruled out through injury. Cedric Kipre  is available after serving a one-game suspension.

Match stats...
- Wigan's joint top scorers are Joe Garner and Nick Powell with seven goals apiece.
- Blues' first meeting against the Latics was in an FA Cup tie in January 1978 when Wigan were still a non-league club. Blues won that tie 4-0 with Trevor Francis and Keith Bertschin both scoring a brace.
- Wigan have won just two of their 11 previous trips to St. Andrew's.

Last five meetings between Blues and Wigan...
Championship 22 Dec 2018 Wigan 0 Blues 3
Championship 07 Mar 2017 Blues 0 Wigan 1
Championship 16 Aug 2016 Wigan 1 Blues 1
Championship 10 Jan 2015 Blues 3 Wigan 1
Championship 30 Aug 2014 Wigan 4 Blues 0

Form guide - last five Championship fixtures....
Blues: WDDDW
Wigan: DLDWW

Ticket news...
Tickets are on general sale but selling fast. For prices and purchasing details, please click here.

BluesTV...
BluesTV will be broadcasting live to International subscribers. Audio commentary is also available to UK and Ireland subscribers, with former striker Dele Adebola joining the BluesTV team this Saturday to provide expert analysis. To subscribe to BluesTV, please click here.

Important message to supporters...
In light of recent events, the Club is urging all supporters to be responsible in their behaviour and actions. Birmingham City knows that the overwhelming majority of our supporters do not indulge in anti-social activities and are passionate about the players and the Club. We appreciate this and never take it for granted. The scrutiny of the football world, the wider public and the authorities is on us and we urge everyone to rally together to project the correct and positive image of the Club. We adopt a zero-tolerance stance on anti-social behaviour and spectator misconduct. This includes - amongst other things - drunkenness, throwing of missiles and use and carrying of pyrotechnics (flares, smoke bombs), racist and/or homophobic chanting. Pitch encroachment is forbidden and against the law. Please DO NOT encroach onto the pitch, under any circumstances. Garry Monk, his staff and the players intend to embark on a lap of appreciation shortly after the final whistle. But this will NOT happen if there are any pitch incursions. Think of the damage you may be doing to your Club and also the punishment you may incur personally for bad behaviour and pitch encroachment. We are sure everyone is aware that the Football Association have powers to take serious action against the Club, which can include heavy fines and ground closure. The Club, as did others, recently received a written warning from the FA about missiles being thrown onto the pitch, at home and away games. As a result, bottles, flasks, cans, glass vessels and containers are not allowed at the St. Andrew's Trillion Trophy Stadium and drinks are decanted into paper cups. It is important that bottles, coins, flares and other items not thrown at our matches. For the avoidance of doubt, the following articles must not be brought into the ground: knives, fireworks, smoke canisters, air-horns, flares, weapons, dangerous or hazardous items, laser devices, bottles, glass vessels, cans, poles and any article that might be used as a weapon and/or compromise public safety. Any person in possession of such items will be refused entry. Again, we would like to thank the overwhelming majority of supporters for their backing and their understanding. We continually review all our stewarding, safety and security measures and we remain committed to making your experience following Blues a safe one and as pleasant as possible - but we also need YOUR help.
Thank you.

Match officials...
Stephen Martin will take charge of Saturday's game. So far this season, the Staffordshire-based official has refereed 33 games where he has produced a total of 81 yellow cards and three reds. The last Blues game he refereed was our Championship away fixture at Swansea City which ended in a 3-3 draw. Seven players were cautioned in that game; including Maxime Colin, Jacques Maghoma, Maikel Kieftenbeld and Che Adams for the visitors. Full-back Kristian Pedersen was also sent off for Blues just before half-time after receiving a second caution. During his refereeing career to date, Mr Martin has taken charge of 12 Blues matches - three of which Blues have won, four they have drawn and four they have lost. The last Wigan Athletic game he took charge of was their Sky Bet Championship home fixture against Middlesbrough in March which ended in a 0-0 stalemate. Three players received cautions in that game; including Cheyenne Dunkley for the hosts. In total, Mr Martin has taken charge of 11 Wigan games; with the Latics winning two of them, drawing five and losing four. Mr Martin will be assisted on Saturday by Adam Matthews and Geoffrey Russell, with Lee Collins acting as the fourth official.

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