Struggling Newcastle welcome Wigan to St James’ Park in desperate need of a win to help ease the relegation fears that are slowly growing on Tyneside.
After impressively finishing 5th and qualifying for the Europa League last season, Alan Pardew’s men have struggled for both form and fitness this season and have lost their last four consecutive Premier League encounters to currently lie in 14th place, just two points clear of the drop zone.
Pardew has versatile defender/midfielder James Perch missing through suspension after picking up a fifth booking of the season in the midweek defeat at Stoke. He joins Yohan Cabaye, Shola Ameobi, Steven Taylor, Hatem Ben Arfa and Gabriel Obertan in missing the visit of the Latics, with Cabaye and Ben Arfa’s absence through groin and hamstring injuries being sorely felt by the Magpies at the moment.
Wigan, who currently lie only one place below their opponents courtesy of a poorer goal-difference, have their own injury worries to contend with. Key first-team regulars Antolin Alcaraz, Ivan Ramis and Ben Watson, as well as Albert Crusat all remain missing, although coach Roberto Martinez is hopeful that skipper Gary Caldwell and midfielder David Jones will be fit to take their place in the starting line-up.
Wigan will be looking to move above Newcastle in the table and away from the relegation trouble, despite their inconsistent form of late which has seen good wins at Tottenham and at home to Reading tempered by reverses against West Brom, Liverpool and latterly at home to Manchester City.
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