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Preview: Wigan Athletic vs. Blackburn Rovers - predictions, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Championship clash between Wigan Athletic and Blackburn Rovers, including team news and predicted lineups.

Wigan Athletic will be looking to further distance themselves from the Championship relegation zone when they welcome Blackburn Rovers to the DW Stadium on Saturday.

Blackburn, meanwhile, are firmly in with a shout of a top-six finish following a 3-1 victory over fellow promotion hopefuls Bristol City last time out.

Match preview

Wigan boss Paul Cook on February 1, 2020© Reuters

Wigan picked up right where they left off in the Championship as they enjoyed a comfortable 2-0 victory over Huddersfield Town last Saturday - their fourth clean sheet in a row.

The result means their survival hopes are looking all the more promising, and the Latics have only lost one of their last nine fixtures in the Championship, with four wins from their last five.

Furthermore, Paul Cook's side have not suffered defeat in seven matches - the best unbeaten run in the league at the moment. Stoke City, who lie one point below Wigan in the table, are the only other side without defeat in their last five.

The Latics are only three points clear of the drop zone in 17th, though, so there are no guarantees of safety just yet. Nevertheless, if they can carry this momentum forward into the next couple of months then Cook's men should secure their Championship status with relative ease.

However, Wigan cannot move any higher with a victory this weekend, and any slip-ups at this stage of the campaign could see their position become all the more precarious as the battle to avoid relegation gathers pace.

Blackburn Rovers boss Tony Mowbray on June 20, 2020© Reuters

Blackburn also marked their return to Championship action in ideal fashion, with their 3-1 victory over Bristol City leaving them only one point adrift of the playoff places.

Tony Mowbray's men ended a four-game winless run courtesy of goals from Corry Evans, Tosin Adarabioyo and Adam Armstrong, and Blackburn have now amassed 56 points from 38 games as they lie eighth in the table.

Preston North End, who occupy the final playoff spot, have endured a dismal run of form and a fierce battle for the top six is now ensuing – with Cardiff City, Blackburn, Swansea City, Bristol City, Millwall and Derby County all in with a chance.

However, Blackburn's poor record before the shutdown did not help their cause – they drew three and lost one of their last four matches before play was called to a halt amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Mowbray's side have only tasted defeat in one of their last five league outings on the road, although they were held to a goalless stalemate by Wigan when the sides last faced off just before Christmas.

Wigan Athletic Championship form: DWWWDW

Blackburn Rovers Championship form: WDDDLW

Team News

Antonee Robinson in action for Wigan on December 26, 2019© Reuters

Wigan's only long-term absentee Chey Dunkley remains out after the defender suffered a broken leg against Reading in February.

Full-back Antonee Robinson made a surprise return to the starting lineup against Huddersfield, but Gavin Massey was forced to miss out and it remains to be seen if he will recover in time for Saturday.

Defender Leon Balogun returned to action in a midweek friendly against Fleetwood Town, and the Brighton & Hove Albion loanee is in contention for a start against Blackburn.

As far as Rovers are concerned, midfielder John Buckley will serve the second of his two-game suspension and will not feature for this one.

Amari'i Bell and Derrick Williams are both set to miss out through injury, but Ryan Nyambe could return to the right-back position after missing out against Bristol with a dead leg.

Wigan Athletic possible starting lineup:
Marshall; Byrne, Balogun, Kipre, Robinson; Pilkington, Williams, Morsy; Lowe, Moore, Jacobs

Blackburn Rovers possible starting lineup:
Walton; Nyambe, Lenihan, Adarabioyo, Rankin-Costello; Travis, Downing; Gallagher, Holtby, Rothwell, Armstrong

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We say: Wigan Athletic 1-1 Blackburn Rovers

The two clubs are in desperate need of wins for entirely different reasons, and both sides should be heading into this clash full of confidence following their respective victories last time out. That being said, we are struggling to pick a winner for this one and think that a draw is the most likely outcome.

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Blackburn Rovers boss Tony Mowbray on June 20, 2020
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