Wigan v Birmingham preview
Roberto Martinez hopes Wigan's mid-season break to La Manga will refresh their chances of survival.
By Soriebah Kajue
Last Updated: 19/03/11 2:25pm
Roberto Martinez hopes Wigan's mid-season break to La Manga will refresh their flagging chances of survival.
The Latics are bottom of the Premier League and four points from safety, with just nine games to play.
Due to the way the fixtures have panned out, Wigan have played just once in the last fortnight which has given them an opportunity to get all their injured players fit.
At this stage of the season, getting a chance to replenish the physical and mental scars could be vital.
However, they will need to improve their home form as they have won just three games at the DW Stadium this term, the worst home record in the league.
They have also managed to score just 16 goals in front of their home fans this term and top scorer Hugo Rodallega has just seven goals.
As for Birmingham, Alex McLeish will no doubt see their season as a failure if they are relegated.
The Carling Cup winners crashed out of the FA Cup last weekend in a thrilling quarter-final clash against Bolton.
McLeish will now be hoping their cup exploits have not taken their toll on his squad as they approach the season's most critical period.
At present, the Blues are only out of the bottom three due to goal difference, but they will be comforted by the knowledge they have a game in hand on their rivals.
Martinez has a fully fit squad to choose from after Emmerson Boyce returned to training after a month out with a hamstring compliant.
However, he may have to be content with a place on the bench following Wigan's impressive display in their defeat against Manchester City in their last outing.
Meanwhile, McLeish has been handed a major boost with the news that six of his first-team players will return for this clash.
Skipper Stephen Carr, Roger Johnson, Obafemi Martins, Craig Gardner, Barry Ferguson and Martin Jiranek are all available.
However, Lee Bowyer, David Bentley, Nikola Zigic, Keith Fahey are all doubtful for the game.
Possible staring XIs:
Wigan: Al Habsi, Gohouri, G Caldwell, Alcaraz, Figueroa, Watson, Diame, McCarthy, Moses, N'Zogbia, Rodallega
Birmingham: Foster, Carr, Jiranek, Johnson, Gardener, Murphy, Ferguson, Mutch, Larsson, Martins, Jerome