So Sky Sports have named this as ‘Survival Sunday’ and it’s one of those whose survival is threatened that make the trip to the Brit. Unfortunately, however good Wigan have been in recent weeks, I wouldn’t fancy their chances against a Potters side that will be keen to end a historic season on a high and the home fans will be ensuring that the team don’t take their pedal off the metal. Those two defeats to Man City over the past week will have stiffened the team’s resolve and there will be no thoughts of summer holidays allowed until the final whistle blows.
You’d expect nothing less than total commitment from Tony Pulis and he’s emphasised on the official site that we’re not going to be allowing the Latics to walk over us: ‘I’ve got a lot of time for Dave Whelan and Roberto Martinez, but there is no room for sentiment in this game and we want to finish with a win on Sunday,’ said Tone.
‘We’ve had a fantastic season so it would be great to round it all off with a win that will keep us in the top half of the table and mean we improve again on the previous year.
‘You can argue that Wigan have more at stake in the game, but we want to put in a performance for our supporters because they have been magnificent all season, and none more so than at Wembley last weekend when they were a credit to this Football Club.’
Stoke City Team News:
TP rested several players including Jones, Etherington and Pennant in midweek and he’s hoping that they’ll all be fit for Sunday. Robert Huth is the only serious doubt after probably coming back from injury too early last week in his keenness not to miss the Cup Final.
Player to watch: Jon Walters
My choice for ‘player of the season’. He started slowly after joining us from Ipswich and whilst it was clear that the Tractors Boys were not happy at losing him we did wonder at first if he’d been a wise buy. Now that we’re at the end of the season, he can look at his 12 goals (so far) as an impressive debut performance and a bargain buy for the Potters.
Wigan Team News:
Roberto Martinez is fortunate that he’ll have a full squad to choose from and their recent run of three wins and three draws in the last eight games have given them a glimmer of survival in what has been an extremely tight league this season
Player to watch: Charles N’Zogbia
He’s been their main goal threat and Wigan did well to hold on him with several clubs reportedly trying to sign him up before the start of the season. Now with 10 goals under his belt, you do worry for them if they manage to stay up and he departs.
Match Facts & Stats
Wouldn’t Wigan’s Maynor Figueroa love to repeat his goal scored from inside the visitors’ half at the corresponding fixture two seasons ago?
See you back here in August!