Getting a result at the City Ground against a Nottingham Forest side that has lost only two home matches in the league is not going to be easy. Billy Davies is a formidable foe, a manager for whom the players give their all and one not averse to using negative tactics to get a result. However, Forest have lost some momentum in recent weeks and injuries to key players are disrupting their game. It would appear to be a good time to play them.
Forest will go into this game without playmaker Andy Reid, who scored a superb free kick in Wigan’s win at the DW Stadium in late August. They will also be without central defender Jack Hobbs, who was courted by Uwe Rosler in the transfer window. Dexter Blackstock, Chris Cohen and Henri Lansbury are also likely to miss the game. Forest had gone on a 16 match unbeaten run until February 16th when they were knocked out of the FA Cup by two added time goals from Sheffield United. Since then they have drawn 2-2 at home to Leicester and lost 3-1 at Burnley.
In contrast Wigan Athletic have won 5 of their last 6 matches. Latics know all too well about injuries and have Gary Caldwell, Shaun Maloney and Ben Watson unavailable. However, there is a possibility of both Scott Carson and Nick Powell returning at long last.
New signing Ryan Tunnicliffe will probably make an appearance at some stage tomorrow. If Latics play with a flat back four he will compete with Josh McEachran for the Ben Watson role of deep-lying playmaker. However, given Forest’s playing style, Uwe Rosler might decide to strengthen his aerial defences. The big Swede Markus Holgerrson will be ready to step into a backline of three central defenders.
If both Callum McManaman and Nick Powell are back from injury, Rosler will face a hard choice on whom to play upfront. He got away with a win against the odds at Brighton where a couple of well taken, opportunist goals gave his team a win against a profligate home side. After taking James McClean off at half time the German was take off a second forward after 73 minutes in Martyn Waghorn. Playing the final 17 minutes light on attacking power invited the opposition to pressurize Latics’ defence.
It was a great result at Brighton, but it was achieved with a tad of good luck. There is a saying that good teams make their own luck, but also another that says fortune favours the brave.
Rosler has built team spirit within his group of players. These Latics players have the “character” to grind out results if need be. Although one hopes to see a fluid, attacking approach it might well be the qualities of doggedness and resilience that are to prove paramount in getting Wigan a good result at the City Ground tomorrow.