Apr 26, 2014 at 3pm UK at ​DW Stadium
WiganWigan Athletic

Pearce (32')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Keogh (60'), Dobbie (70')
Bishop (55')

Preview: Wigan Athletic vs. Blackpool

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Championship showdown between playoff-chasing Wigan and relegation-threatened Blackpool.

Blackpool's season continues to go from bad to worse, and they could find themselves consigned to relegation with another defeat at the hands of Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium on Saturday.

Such a scenario would have been unthinkable back in November, when the Seasiders still had lofty ambitions of a playoff place and Wigan looked more likely to be sucked into a relegation scrap.

However, the two clubs have experienced contrasting fortunes since then, with Blackpool recording just two wins in their last 28 matches and a pitiful 12 points from the last 81 available.

As a result, they find themselves in the bottom three going into the penultimate match of the campaign with survival out of their own hands and looking increasingly unlikely.

They sit level on points with Birmingham City, who have a game in hand and far superior goal difference, while they are a point behind Doncaster Rovers and in-form Millwall.

Charlton Athletic sit one place further up the table, also with a game in hand, but Blackpool will be hoping that the Addicks are still in the mix when it comes to the final-day meeting between the two sides at Bloomfield Road.

That appears to be the only ray of light for Barry Ferguson's side in the closing stages of the season, but they would need Charlton to lose their next two matches while also turning their own fortunes around to pick up the win on the final day.

It is now seven games without a win for Blackpool, with just two points amassed in that time, while their away record is the worst in the division. They have managed a measly 16 points on the road all season, just four of which have come from their ongoing winless streak of 15 matches.

Jack Robinson is still an injury doubt for the visitors, as are Robert Earnshaw and Ricardo Fuller, meaning that David Goodwillie is likely to start up front.

Wigan have business of their own to attend to, with a victory guaranteeing them a place in the playoffs and leaving just the one spot still up for grabs.

They have a game in hand over the teams around them in the table so could have ambitions to catch Queens Park Rangers in fourth place in order to gain a more favourable playoff draw, with the second leg of the semi-finals at home.

However, Uwe Rosler will also be aware that his side have suffered a long and arduous season with their participation in the Europa League and journey to the FA Cup semi-final, and he could use the final three games to rest some tired legs.

It is unlikely that he will make wholesale changes until their place in the playoffs is mathematically secured, though, and even then he will be aware of the importance of going into the post-season in good form.

Two wins in their last seven matches is not exactly ideal, but they have lost just once at home since the start of December, a run that stretches back 13 games.

Chris McCann and Ben Watson remain sidelined for the Latics, but long-term absentees Shaun Maloney and Gary Caldwell have returned to the squad just in time for the playoffs.

Recent form


Blackpool: DLLLLD

Possible starting lineups

Wigan: Al-Habsi; Perch, Boyce, Barnett, Beausejour; McClean, Gomez, McArthur, Espinoza, Waghorn; Fortune

Blackpool: Gilks; McMahon, Mackenzie, Cathcart, Halliday; Basham, Osbourne; Perkins, Bishop, Dobbie; Goodwillie

Sports Mole says: 3-0

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Brian McDermott. manager of Leeds United looks on during the Sky Bet Championship match between Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds United at Hillsborough Stadium on January 11, 2014
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