Tottenham Hotspur need all three points from their trip to Wigan on Saturday to sustain their hopes of Champions League qualification.
Spurs are in fifth place, two points behind third-placed Arsenal in the last automatic Champions League qualification spot, and one point off Chelsea, who are fourth, a position that would see them enter the playoffs for UEFA’s elite club competition.
Both Tottenham and Chelsea have a game in hand over their London rivals, and Andre Villas-Boas’ side will be keen to take full points from their trip to DW Stadium against a Wigan team who are three points from safety in the battle to avoid relegation.
Spurs enjoyed an outstanding win in their most recent match, a 3-1 victory at White Hart Lane against Manchester City on Sunday, which was a welcome return to form after a three-match run without a win.
The victory was highlighted by a fine go
al from Gareth Bale, who made his first start after recovering from the ankle injury he suffered on Europa League duty against Basel on April 4.
Wigan, meanwhile, have lost their last two matches – 1-0 to Manchester City and 2-0 to West Ham – so Roberto Martinez’s side will be keen to arrest that slide .
The last time the two teams met, Wigan pulled off a shock 1-0 victory at White Hart Lane in November thanks to a Ben Watson goal.
Villas-Boas’ received some welcome news from his fitness staff last week with Bale’s recovery, and William Gallas (calf), Aaron Lennon (knee) and Younes Kaboul (knee) are all nearing returns from their respective injuries.
There was worse news for his counterpart Martinez, however, with central defender Antolin Alcaraz to miss the Tottenham game after lasting just 15 minutes against West Ham before limping off with a hamstring problem.
Centre back Ivan Ramis is already out for the season with a knee injury, leaving Martinez with a massive hole to fill, and Watson will be unable to repeat his heroics from last time out against Spurs after fracturing his leg against Liverpool on November 17.