Wigan are looking to build on their promising point and display at Fulham last week by taking a rare home win to put further space between them and the drop zone, which they are currently only separated from by goal difference.
Roberto Martinez’ men have been boosted this week by the news that Shaun Maloney has signed a new long-term contract to the club. However, the manager’s worst fears were confirmed when centre-back Ivan Ramis was ruled out for the rest of the season with a cruciate ligament injury. The Latics remain injury plagued with Antonio lopez (hamstring), Ryo Miyaichi (ankle), Ben Watson (leg), Albert Crusat (knee) and Antolin Alcaraz (groin) still absent for the foreseeable future, although new signings Roger Espinoza and Angelo Henriquez are pushing for their first Premier League starts.
Sunderland had the buoyancy of their 3-0 win over West Ham last weekend, called their best display of the season by manager Martin O’Neill, tempered by their rather tame 1-0 cup defeat at home to Bolton in the week.
Star striker Steven Fletcher, who missed out on the FA Cup defeat, faces a late fitness test in order to overcome his illness and take his place in the starting XI. Skipper Lee Cattermole is also set to return after a spell out with a knee injury, while defender John O’Shea is doubtful. There could also be roles for new signings Alfred N’Diaye and Kader Mangane while Ahmed Elmohamady could be in the squad after being recalled from his loan spell at Championship side Hull.