Wigan Athletic vs Nottingham Forest Preview: Crucial relegation clash at the DW Stadium

Wigan Athletic vs Nottingham Forest Preview: Crucial relegation clash at the DW Stadium

Nottingham Forest face a huge clash at the bottom of the Championship as they take on struggling Wigan Athletic at The DW Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

samstraw
Sam Straw

Nottingham Forest face a huge clash at the bottom of the Championship as they take on struggling Wigan Athletic at The DW Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Following their 2-1 win over Aston Villa, many felt that Forest would cruise to Championship safety. However, after three consecutive defeats, Gary Brazil's side have been drawn right back into the relegation battle. 

Forest have remained competitive throughout these games, excluding the 5-1 defeat to Norwich City on a dismal day at Carrow Road. In both the defeat to Fulham away and Sheffield Wednesday at home last week, Forest were arguably unlucky not to take anything from the game. 

Wigan have put in some improved performances of late under manager Warren Joyce. However, they are still ultimately falling short in a lot of matches and struggling to get results.

How they've fared so far

Forest fans have once again become fearful of what the future may hold for their club. Three consecutive defeats in the league means they are now well in the battle to remain in the Championship. The next few months could be one of the most crucial period's of the club's recent history. 

It has been a horrendous season for the Reds with them losing 17 of their 33 games so far this campaign. They only have 10 wins to their name and their goal difference of -12 is one of the worst in the league. All these factors have put the Reds in a very precarious position which sees them just six points above the relegation zone. 

Their latest defeat came last weekend as they lost 2-1 at The City Ground to in-form Sheffield Wednesday. They were unlucky not to get anything from the game after what was a very good performance in the first-half. If Ross McCormack had converted his penalty before Almen Abdi's superb opener, then it could have been a very different game. They were ultimately punished by the quality of a team who are pushing to get promotion to the Premier League

Gary Brazil will be hoping that his January additions eventually come good for the side and can help the club remain in the division. There is no doubt that the likes of McCormack, Zach Clough and others are of good quality in this division. They may just need time to settle into their surroundings before they will start to play to their full potential. 

As for Wigan, they have also had a very poor season so far. This season was expected to be a struggle for the Latics who only got promoted from League 1 just last year. Despite this, some did believe that they way they won the third division was very impressive and that they might prove to be the surprise package in the Championship this season. 

However, this proved not to be the case and resulted in Gary Caldwell losing his job. His replacement, Warren Joyce, has inspired some impressive performances in his time in charge so far. Despite this, Wigan are still struggling to get points on the board and this is a result driven business. We are approaching a crucial stage of the season and good performances are not going to be enough to keep the Latics in this division for another season. 

An added bonus for Forest is that Wigan did have a game mid-week and therefore will be more tired heading into this one. They lost 2-1 at Loftus Road to Queens Park Rangers, another team who have been struggling for form of late. One positive for the Latics was that new signing Omar Bogle got himself on the scoresheet yet again and continues to impress since his January move from League Two side Grimsby Town

Omar Bogle has been a hit with the Latics so far. (picture: Getty Images / Clive Rose)
Omar Bogle has been a hit with the Latics so far. (picture: Getty Images / Clive Rose)

Wigan find themselves sat 22nd in the Championship as it stands. They are just two points off safety and six points off Forest. If Forest were to get three points at the DW Stadium on Saturday afternoon, then it would put a signifcant gap between the two sides and give Forest some breathing space. However, Wigan could pile the pressure and anxiety on the Reds if they could pick up the three points.

Last time they met

Forest last played Wigan in a 2-0 defeat at The DW Stadium in January. It was arguably Forest's worst display of the season so far as goals from Will Grigg and Yanic Wildschut secured a place in the Fourth Round of The FA Cup for the Latics in a game which also saw Eric Lichaj miss a penalty for the away side. It was a shocking display by the Reds and one which will have massively contributed to the sacking of Philippe Montanier just weeks later. 

Forest also played Wigan earlier in the season 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.

Team news

According to Brazil, Forest may be able to welcome back their defensive trio of Michael Mancienne, Matt Mills and Jack Hobbs. All three of these players are quality defenders in this division and will be vitally important to the squad and Forest's battle to remain in the Championship for the remainder of this season. 

Britt Assombalonga is itching to get himself back in the starting line-up after being on the bench for the last few games. Brazil has opted with McCormack and youngster Ben Brereton of late but Assombalonga may be put back into the line-up for the crucial clash at the DW Stadium on Saturday afternoon. 

As for Wigan, Joyce is hoping that both Shaun MacDonald and Michael Jacobs are fit enough to face the Reds. Winger Gabriel Obertan could also find himself involved but one player who will certainly not be featuring is Craig Morgan as he remains out injured.

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