The Villa Appetiser: Wigan v Villa 2017

It’s been a couple of seasons since we last headed to Wigan, when a volley from Vlaar of all people helped us record a point.

Wigan, who were already relegated by that point, have dropped into League One since then and look in danger of doing the same this season.

Warren Joyce’s sacking has seen club legend Graham Barrow take charge as Wigan hope to spark a revival.

On the back of a good win against a play-off place team last weekend, can Villa prevail against relegation zone Wigan?

Bruce on Joyce sacking / Wigan

“I’m sure he will bounce back. He’s made of strong stuff. He’ll need to because it is tough but the way the football world is at the moment, I don’t think any of us are surprised.

“It’s an ongoing situation which is not very healthy at the moment so you do feel for him.

“Of course, tomorrow now for their players, there’s a different voice, different attitude, change in formation maybe, change of personnel… so we don’t know what they’re going to do.

“Whatever happens it’s going to be a tough game.”

…and on scoring more

“I’ve always wanted to play two up top.

“We changed to that last week. I thought it benefited us.

“Going forward we have to be more offensive. Certainly, it is our achilles heel.

“We’ve created enough chances playing the way we have been playing over the last few weeks but we haven’t taken them. It remains a concern to me.”

…and on Jedinak

“Mile Jedinak has come back in and protected the back four and he’s done very well.

“I moved him back to centre-back following that injury to Nathan Baker and he was excellent. He has played there and it’s a position that later on in his career he can make his own.

“With the size of him, you don’t see many midfield players coming up to 33 running around in midfield.

“I’ve had a conversation with Mile, it’s something he’s interested in.

“Typical Mile, he said if you want to play me at centre-back, play me there.”

Stephen Warnock on his time at Villa

“I had four years at Villa and it was a real mixed bag because I had two great seasons on a personal note and then two frustrating ones but, overall, I enjoyed playing for such a great club.

“We had a great first season and then the second season I played at the start and then fell out of favour before the third season when I got back into the team when we were in a relegation battle and I thought I played my part in keeping Villa in the Premier League then.”

 

“It’s a club steeped in great history and I feel very privileged to have played for them.

“I played over 100 games for Villa and when I look back the disappointing thing was that I didn’t make more.

“In terms of the now, Villa will come here confident and why wouldn’t they?

“They’re in great form at the moment but, as we have seen all season, the Championship is so unpredictable and anyone can beat anyone.

“We have to believe we can beat Villa. We are preparing well and we’ll have to be at full concentration.

“Players have to be prepared to put bodies on the line but also go and attack Villa and be adventurous in our play, something we probably haven’t been of late. We have to be positive.

“Graham has made that clear to the players.

“We have to win games now and our approach has to be full of intent with a desire to score goals.”

Memory Match

19th May 2013 Wigan 2 Villa 2

Goals from Bent and Vlaar helped Villa to a draw against a Wigan team already relegated from the Premier League.

Wigan – Last five matches at home: D 3, L 2

Villa – Last five matches away: W 1, L 4

One to Watch

Omar Bogle – A January signing from Grimsby Town, Bogle was playing for Solihull Moors in 2015.

 

VILLA are unbeaten in seven league games at the dw stadium

Facts to Sweep Under the Carpet

As Warren Joyce found out this week, the Championship is a tough league.

Joyce replaced Gary Caldwell in November but was unable to help Wigan, promoted from League One last season, climb out of the relegation zone.

Bruce mentioned the unpredictability of facing a team who have just parted company with their manager. It can cause instability at clubs, but Wigan have given the job to Graham Barrow, a man who has been a former player, manager, assistant, caretaker and first team coach at Wigan during his time there.

He has been with the club in all four divisions, and the popular figure could prove a morale-boosting appointment.

Considering our overall record away from home this season (we’ve lost six out of our last seven) there’s still reason to be a bit concerned, despite our turnaround in form.

Bruce was also right to mention our need to score more goals – in our last 7 away games, we’ve failed to score in five of them!

“They’re in great form at the moment but, as we have seen all season, the Championship is so unpredictable and anyone can beat anyone” – WArnock on his old team

Why Villa Have Got This Game in the Bag

When we desperately needed an away win, we managed to get a result from a team in the relegation zone – Rotherham.

Wigan aren’t in as bad a position, but they’re still four points from safety, and the lowest scorers in the division.

Grealish’s wonder strike won all the points earlier in the season but the history books reveal how Wigan struggle against Villa. Wigan have only won one of their last eight league games against Villa, which was the 3-0 defeat under Lambert at Villa Park.

On Wigan’s turf, Villa are unbeaten in seven away league games, of which we won four.

Kodjia’s brace against Wednesday means he’s now scored 15 league goals this season – the most by a Villa player in a single season since Benteke in his debut campaign (he scored 19 in 2012/13).

While new interim boss Barrow may bring a degree of stability to Wigan, they’ve used a league-high 39 different players in the league this season, which could be one of the factors of their struggles.

Wigan, who have failed to win 12 of their last 13 home Championship games will also potentially face Lansbury, Hogan and Grealish, all of whom trained this week.

The Sheffield Wednesday win proved that the Huddersfield loss didn’t damage Villa’s confidence too much.

Hopefully we can keep the wins coming with a result at the DW stadium, a ground Villa usually take points from.

UTV.

Follow Lewis on Twitter – @rymondfootball

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