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Premier League preview: Wigan v Norwich City

Wigan’s bid to avoid relegation faces a crucial test on Saturday when Norwich City travel to the DW Stadium.

Wigan, who won seven of their last nine English Premier League fixtures last season to maintain their top-flight status, look to be finishing strongly again.

Wins against Reading and Newcastle United in recent league clashes have boosted their confidence while they have also reached the last four of the FA Cup after toppling Huddersfield Town and Everton.

Roberto Martinez’s side are still in the relegation zone – they sit 18th – but have a game in hand on their rivals.

And a win against the 12th-placed Norwich City could take them out of the bottom three, depending on Aston Villa’s result against Liverpool on Sunday.

Wigan have had no problems scoring goals in recent times, netting in 12 of their last 13 matches, and the form of Ivorian Arouna Kone has been important.

Kone, who joined Wigan from Levante in the off-season, has scored 11 times in 27 appearances.

Norwich have also been in strong form, losing just one of their last seven, but five of them have been draws meaning they are still in danger of getting sucked into a relegation dogfight.

Unlike their upcoming opponents, Chris Hughton’s men have had trouble converting chances and, with just three goals in their last six matches, need more from strikers Grant Holt, Kei Kamara and Luciano Becchio.

Norwich have also agreed a deal in the past week to sign Sporting Lisbon striker Ricky van Wolfswinkel on July 1 to bolster their attacking options.

City have never lost to Wigan in league competition, with the five meetings ending in two Norwich wins and three draws.

The earlier meeting between the two sides this season ended in a 2-1 Norwich triumph thanks to goals from Anthony Pilkington and Wes Hoolahan.

Norwich will be hoping that goalkeeper John Ruddy (hip) recovers in time for their trip north, as back-up shot-stopper Mark Bunn (suspended) will miss out.

Pilkington (hamstring) and Andrew Surman (knee) will not play either but screening midfielder Alexander Tettey (knee) could feature.

Wigan will be without attackers Crusat (knee), Ryo Miyaichi (ankle), midfielder Ben Watson (leg) and defender Ivan Ramis (knee) for the match.

Thu 28 Mar, 2013
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