Wigan Athletic vs Nottingham Forest Preview: A welcome break from league for both

Wigan Athletic vs Nottingham Forest Preview: A welcome break from league for both

After four consecutive defeats, Nottingham Forest fans will welcome a break from the league as they take on Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium in the FA Cup on Saturday afternoon.

Sam Straw

Nottingham Forest and manager Philippe Montanier will welcome the FA Cup 3rd round clash with Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium due to their dismal run in the Championship

Wigan have also been struggling in the league and they are now seven games without a win, with the last coming in a shock 2-1 win at Huddersfield Town at the end of November. 

How they've fared so far

Forest's 2-1 defeat to Barnsley last time out has caused their position in the Championship to become a lot more of a concern. They now find themselves dangerously close to the relegation zone and with a takeover on the horizon, it seems unlikely that any stability will be at the club for a while yet. 

This season is now surely all about just staying up for the new potential owners of Forest. John Jay Moores is said to be just days away from taking over a club who find themselves just two points off the relegation zone. The defeat against Barnsley was very disappointing for Forest fans as defensively they played well for the majority of the game. However, it was just one individual error from Stephen Henderson which allowed Conor Hourihane to snatch all three points for Barnsley, albeit with a superb strike. 

Although this game seems of little importance to Forest at the moment, it could have significant bearings on their future. It will be a welcome break for the players as they can temporarily forget about their position and dismal performances in the league. They will be able to play with a freedom which they have not been able to in recent weeks and if they do pick up a win, it could boost their confidence hugely as they head back into the league. 

It could also be a game of vital importance for Montanier. It could be the case that the new owners already have their man lined up and are just waiting for the takeover to go through before being able to sack the Frenchman. There have been many rumours that Gary Rowett is lined up and ready to takeover at The City Ground. However, for all he knows, he may have a slim chance of retaining the job and a win in the FA Cup this weekend might persuade the new owners to give him some more time to turn things around.

As for Wigan, they have also really been struggling with life in the Championship since their promotion from League 1 last season. They started the season with club legend Gary Caldwell in charge but he was dismissed for a run of poor results in October and replaced with Warren Joyce. Since Joyce has been appointed, Wigan have played 10 games, losing seven of them, drawing two and winning just one. 

This is horrific form for any side and it sees them sat 23rd in the Championship table with only Rotherham United below them. They find themselves currently six points of safety and with a lot of work to do if they want to remain in the division. However, the FA Cup is something Wigan have fond memories of in recent years. Their 1-0 win over Manchester City to win the trophy in 2013 will go down in their history and they will be hoping they can progress to the 4th round this weekend. 

Grigg scored twice against Forest in August. (picture: Getty Images / Nigel Roddis)
Grigg scored twice against Forest in August. (picture: Getty Images / Nigel Roddis)

Last time they met

Forest last played Wigan in a seven-goal thriller which saw the Reds beat the away side 4-3 at The City Ground. Thomas Lam scored an injury time winner for Forest after Britt Assombalonga and Oliver Burke who got a brace had also scored for the home side. Michael Jacobs and a brace from Will Grigg gave plenty for Forest to think about as they were very fortunate to come away with three points.

The last time Wigan were in the Championship in the 2014/15 season the Reds also had the better of the Latics. They drew 0-0 at the DW Stadium in September before getting all three points in a 3-0 win against them at The City Ground in February.

Team news

Philippe Montanier still has a huge number of injuries to deal with as Forest head into this FA Cup clash. Danny Fox, Armand Traore, Chris Cohen, Damien Perquis, Matty Fryatt and more still all remain out injured.

However, there could also be some welcome returns to the Forest squad also. Henri Lansbury could return from injury if he is still at the club with transfer speculation surrounding him all week. Vladamir Stojkovic will also return to the squad as he missed the Barnsley game as he had to return home due to a family issue. 

Jack Hobbs has been in superb form since he was recalled to the starting line-up and it would be no surprise to see him start again alongside Michael Mancienne in what was an impressive display against Barnsley. Matty Cash may be asked to fill in again at right-back as Eric Lichaj covers the left-back position. 

As for Wigan, they are likely to stick with a similar team as the one which played in the 1-0 defeat to Huddersfield Town at the weekend as Warren Joyce badly needs a win. This could see the likes of Jaaskelainen, Power, Burn, Buxton, Warnock, MacDonald, Jordi Gomez, Jacobs, Grigg, Powell and Wildschut all start. 

Both teams really need a win to boost morale which could make for a very interesting game on Saturday afternoon. The futures of both Philippe Montanier and Warren Joyce are hanging in the balance.