MX23RW : Sunday, February 17 12:41:20
Aug 8, 2015 at 3pm UK at ​Ricoh Arena
CoventryCoventry City
WiganWigan Athletic
Armstrong (15', 62')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Preview: Coventry City vs. Wigan Athletic

Sports Mole previews the League One clash between Coventry City and Wigan Athletic.

Coventry City will hope to have a more promising League One campaign under manager Tony Mowbray when they begin their season against Wigan Athletic.

However, they host a Latics side keen to earn promotion back to the Championship at the first time of asking after a difficult season.

Coventry City

Middlesbrough boss Tony Mowbray on the touchline on August 3, 2013© Getty Images

Coventry City can perhaps count themselves lucky not to playing in League Two this term after escaping relegation on the last day of the season.

Victory at Crawley Town in their final game ensured that Tony Mowbray's men avoided the drop, thanks to two goals in the last 17 minutes.

Despite that relegation near miss, there is an air of optimism around the Ricoh Arena, with Mowbray signing a new contract.

New recruit Sam Ricketts has even talked about the possibility of the Midlands club reaching the Premier League in the next few years.

That dream could become more realistic should Mowbray get his wish in overhauling the club's scouting setup.

Coventry's summer business includes signing Ricketts and former Tottenham Hotspur youngster Ruben Lameiras, as well as bringing Newcastle United's Adam Armstrong in on loan.

However, Mowbray will be keen to at least maintain City's form from the end of last term, which saw the Sky Blues lose only four of his 14 games in charge.

Recent form: DWDDLW

Wigan Athletic

Wigan Athletic captain Gary Caldwell slumps to the ground after missing the first penalty of the FA Cup semi-final shootout against Arsenal at Wembley on April 12, 2014© Getty Images

A fresh start in the boardroom and in the manager's office may be what Wigan are looking for as they try to regain their Championship status.

Malky Mackay's controversial reign in charge of the Latics, which was overshadowed by allegations of racism stemming from his time at Cardiff City, came to an end in April. Chairman Dave Whelan also stepped down, to be replaced by his grandson David Sharpe.

Despite Gary Caldwell's best efforts, Wigan dropped into League One, but they are among the bookmakers' favourites for promotion, which may be due to their transfer business over the summer.

While the likes of Rangers duo Martyn Waghorn and James Tavernier led an exodus from the DW Stadium, the Latics have been able to add new faces to their squad.

The Lancashire club managed to lure Will Grigg from Brentford over the summer. Grigg played a part in MK Dons' charge to the Championship last term.

The Latics also signed Everton duo Francisco Junior and Jonjoe Kenny on loan, while Reece James joins the club from Manchester United.

However, their 3-0 defeat at Blackburn Rovers last week will have done little to aid their preparations for possible bid for a top-two position.

Recent form: LDLWLL

Team News

Kevin McNaughton of Cardiff City during the Pre Season match between Cheltenham Town and Cardiff City at the Abbey Business Stadium on July 27, 2013© Getty Images

Coventry could offer a debut to Bryn Morris, who joined on a season-long loan from Middlesbrough this week.

Mowbray may look to keep faith with Armstrong and Reda Johnson in attack, despite drawing 0-0 at Oxford United last Saturday, but has the likes of Marcus Tudgay available should he decide to reshuffle.

Despite defeat at Ewood Park last weekend, Caldwell may well keep faith with a similar lineup, which boasted several new faces.

However, after coming through a trial period, ex-Cardiff City full-back Kevin McNaughton may come into contention for a starting place.

Coventry City possible starting lineup:
Burge, Willis, Ricketts, Johnson, Stokes, Maddison, Vincelot, Fleck, Swanson, Lameiras, Armstrong

Wigan Athletic possible starting lineup:
O'Donnell, James, Perkins, Daniels, Power, McCann, Grigg, Jacobs, Morgan, Junior, Kenny

Head To Head

Given that Wigan have only played in the top four divisions since 1978, is it perhaps not surprising that they have only met Coventry on six previous occasions.

However, in that time, the Sky Blues have mustered just one victory over the Latics when City, then of the old Division One, won an FA Cup third-round replay at Springfield Park in 1991, thanks to a solitary Micky Gynn strike.

The sides have not met since 2005 when Paul Jewell's Wigan – then on their way to the Premier League – won 2-1 at Highfield Road.

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We say: Coventry 1-1 Wigan

While Wigan may look to make an early statement to back up their tag as one of the promotion favourites, the bookies expect an improved Coventry from last season. With home advantage, City could provide a stern test for the Latics and a score draw may prove a good bet.

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Gary Caldwell of Wigan Athletic looks on during the Barclay's Premier League match between Chelsea and Wigan Athletic at Stamford Bridge on February 9, 2013
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