Aston Villa v Wigan Athletic Preview
By Alan G
April 8 2007
Latics manager Paul Jewell’s overworked brain has reached the conclusion: “We are in a dogfight,” after Saturday’s lacklustre home defeat against Bolton Wanderers at the JJB, and the battle continues at Aston Villa, where points are rarely easy to come by.
"We are certainly in a dogfight now” said Jewell, “but I thought we played well in the first half as we had lots of free kicks and lots of corners, but then we conceded a goal at a bad time. The second half was a scrappy derby game and they took their chances.
"We looked disjointed once they scored the second, it did not look like we wanted to get back in it and we never looked like threatening their goal in the second half. For all the pressure we had, we never worked their goalkeeper hard enough.”
If Latics go down, they will count the cost of the number of times they have taken the lead only to finish with nothing - which is six. Taking into account two other matches in which we have been ahead and drawn, Latics have allowed a possible 22 points to slip through their grasp. "There is no team in the League better at that than us," conceded Jewell.
After missing Saturday’s dismal defeat with a back injury, Arjan de Zeeuw may also miss out on Monday’s trip to Aston Villa, with one or two sources suggesting his absence from the pitch may last for the remainder of the season.
Emile Heskey will face a fitness test on Monday morning prior to the Villa game. He passed a last minute test on Saturday and wowed the crowd with his clinical finishing.
Aston Villa midfielder Gavin McCann will be unavailable to face Wigan as he begins a two-game suspension.
John Carew (calf) misses out again, while strike partner Ashley Young (leg) and Gary Cahill also remain doubts.
Aston Villa (from): Sorensen, Bardsley, Mellberg, Laursen, Bouma, Gardner, Petrov, Barry, Berger, Maloney, Agbonlahor, Taylor, Davis, Hughes, Moore, Angel, Young, Cahill.
Latics (from): Filan, Granqvist, Jackson, Hall, De Zeeuw, Camara, Kilbane, Heskey, McCulloch, Johansson, Landzaat, Aghahowa, Valencia, Scharner, Taylor, Folan, Cywka, Cotterill, Skoko, Unsworth, Baines, Nash.
Referee: Mark Halsey