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Wigan Preview

By: Richard Hubbert
Date: 23/08/2004

AFTER another disappointing defeat away from home, Town will look to get back on track at Blundell Park in the first round of the league cup. But their opposition doesn’t get any harder at this stage of the cup than Championship leaders Wigan Athletic.

Home > 2004-2005 Season > Previews > Wigan (h)

Manager Russell Slade was fuming at the Mariners failure to convert chances into goals in the weekend game with Rushden and Diamonds and now faces a totally different prospect all together in the shape of Wigan. The Latics are top of The Championship after four games and are a formidable side in that division - having narrowly missed out on a play off place last season - and one of the favourites for promotion this year.

The Opposition

There is no doubting that Paul Jewell (left) has done a fantastic job at the JJB Stadium. He was of course, the man who led Bradford City to the Premiership in the late 1990's. He had a brief, unsuccessful spell with Sheffield Wednesday after that, but since his appointment at Wigan in June 2001, he has worked his magic once again, leading the club to the Second Division Championship in the 2003/04 season, netting a record 100 points and losing only four games all season. Last season Wigan surprised everyone by consistently being in the top six all season, until dramatically on the last day of the campaign, a Brian Deane goal for West Ham against the Latics saw Wigan miss out on the play offs by just two points. Jewell will be hoping to go one better this term, and their early form suggests that this could be possible.

Their Squad
This summer, Wigan have added to an already enviable squad with some quality signings. Emerson Thome (left) has Premiership experience with Sheffield Wednesday, Sunderland, Bolton and Chelsea. Thome has only made one appearance as a substitute so far this season due to a lack of fitness - but could play at Blundell Park tonight. Former Torquay striker David Graham was signed in the summer for £215,000 and looks an astute signing. Graham netted over 20 goals for Leroy Rosenior’s men last season. Wigan beat of competition for Graham from the likes of Preston and Leeds in the summer. Per Frandsen brings with him a wealth of experience after spending most of his career in England with Lancashire clubs Bolton and Blackburn, whilst the Latics front two of Nathan Ellington and Jason Roberts are two of the best outside the Premiership. The good news for Town is that both of them are going to be rested for the game at Blundell Park - phew!

Recent Form


Currently 16th in League Two.
WWest Ham(a)3-1
Currently 1st in The Championship.

Team News


  • The Mariners defensive crisis has deepened since the weekend, with the news that Simon Ramsden has a neck strain and will miss the game. This means that Greg Young is likely to receive his first start of the season, with Kirk Wheeler claiming a place on the bench. Alternatively, Jason Crowe could be used as a central defender, which he has been in the past. Greg Downey, Tony Crane and Rob Jones are all still sidelined.
  • Elsewhere, Slade could rest Michael Reddy if he decides that the league game with Mansfield on Saturday is more important.
  • Paul Jewell is likely to rest his first choice strike force of Nathan Ellington and Jason Roberts, giving striking berths to Lee Mcculloch and David GrahaM. Roberts and Ellington both have “niggling injuries” and won’t be risked.
  • Emerson Thome will be given his first start of the season in defence, whilst Alan Mahon will play on the left side of midfield. Nicky Eaden might also be start in place of summer signing David Wright.
  • Probable Teams


    1Anthony Williams
    3Greg Young
    6Justin Whittle
    24Dean Gordon
    2John McDermott
    15Terry Fleming
    17Thomas Pinault
    8Jason Crowe
    10Andy Parkinson
    9Michael Reddy
    7Ashley Sestanovich
    1John Filan
    15David Wright
    5Emerson Thome
    4Matt Jackson
    26Leighton Baines
    19Nicky Eaden
    21Jimmy Bullard
    17Per Frandsen
    14Alan Mahon
    7David Graham
    10Lee McCulloch



    16Ronnie Bull
    11Stacy Coldicott
    3Kirk Wheeler
    19Darren Mansaram
    23Clint Marcelle
    20Gary Teale
    13Gary Walsh
    23James Salisbury
    6Ian Breckin
    2Paul Mitchell

    Head to Head

    Town have only met Wigan 10 times in the club’s history, with the most recent coming in the historic 1997/98 season when Town won 2-0 at Springfield Park. Generally, Town have been the more victorious, winning eight out of a possible ten games. Interestingly however, there has never been a draw between the two teams - and there won’t be on Tuesday night, with the game having to be decided on the night.

    P 10 W 8 D 0 L 2 F 18 A 10

    Wigan Head-to-Head (2nd on The Opposition Ladder).


  • Mariners record signing Lee Ashcroft (left) left the Mariners under a cloud after an alleged bust up with boss Alan Buckley. A £500,000 signing from Preston in 1998, Ashcroft was sold two years later for around £250,000 to Wigan, where he scored 8 goals in around 40 games before loan moves to Huddersfield and Port Vale. He had brief spells with Norwich and Southport, and now plays non league football.
  • One of Wigan manager Paul Jewell’s last clubs as a player was Grimsby, where he had a brief spell in the mid 1990s under Brian Laws, where he scored one goal in three brief appearances.

  • Last Meeting

    Lee Nogan and Kevin Donovan goals gave Town three richly deserved points back in February 1998, when the sides last met. Both clubs have undergone many changes since then - most notably Wigan, who have a new stadium and now find themselves just one league below the Premiership. The Mariners meanwhile, now find themselves back in the bottom division of the football league after spending most of their recent years in division one. This season saw the Mariners go straight back up to Division One under Alan Buckley, while Wigan, managed by John Deehan, finished in 11th place.

    Grimsby Team: Davison, McDermott, Gallimore, Handyside, Lever, Burnett, Donovan, David Smith, Nogan (Lester, 67), Livingstone, Groves
    Subs: (not used) Black,Jobling

    Wigan Team: Carroll, Green, Johnson (Smeets, 70), Bruno (Sharp, 54), McGibbon, Martinez, Lee, Rogers, Jones, Bradshaw, Lowe
    Subs: (not used) Warne

    Attendance: 3,548


    Fishy prediction: As you can see, I’ve not exactly been on top form with predictions so far this season. For once, I’m going to lead with my head rather than my heart and put my head on the line for a brave 2-1 loss for Town, though I hope I’m proved wrong.

    2-1 to Wigan!

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