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Premier League preview: Fulham v Wigan

Fulham will play host to Wigan at Craven Cottage on Saturday with both sides in desperate need of three points.

Fulham snapped a four-game winless streak with a 2-1 victory away to QPR in their last Premier League outing only to be forced into an FA Cup replay with Blackpool after they could only manage a 1-1 draw with the Championship side.

Martin Jol’s men are sitting in 13th place on the table on 21 points and will be hoping for a win that will move them closer to the top 10 and further from trouble.

Wigan, meanwhile, are dwindling in the relegation zone after their last eight Premier League games returned just one victory – a 3-0 triumph over Aston Villa on December 29.

A 1-1 draw with League One outfit Bournemouth last weekend in the FA Cup will not help their confidence in what is proving to be a difficult season for Roberto Martinez’s side.

In more positive news, Wigan could welcome back defender Antolin Alcaraz from a lengthy spell on the sidelines with a groin injury. The Paraguayan has managed just two league appearances this season due to the problem and will be itching to get back on the pitch.

Fulham will be buoyed by the likely return of a host of players including veteran winger Damien Duff, left-back John Arne Riise and first-choice goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer, who have all been out recently due to injury.

The returning trio should add a vast amount of experience to a Fulham side that has relied heavily on striker Dimitar Berbatov, with the Bulgarian scoring twice in their past three Premier League outings.

The two side’s last met in September with Fulham running out 2-1 winners at the DW Stadium after goals from Hugo Rodallega and Damien Duff were enough to see off Wigan, who scored in the dying minutes thanks to Arouna Kone.

And with the likely return of several key players and Wigan’s dismal season to date, Fulham should fancy their chances of claiming the three points over their lowly visitors.

Thu 10 January, 2013
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