PREVIEW: Wigan Athletic away

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Does Villa need Benteke when they have Abraham?

Aston Villa will make the 89 mile trip up the M6 to take on Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium. Dean Smith will be hoping his side can pick up the first victory in three in all competitions.

Each month seems to be a big one for Villa this season but for some reason, January seems to be make or break. We have three very winnable games during a time that sides in and around us are playing each other. Oh, and did I mention the transfer window is also open?

If Villa is to get promoted our form both home and away needs to improve. We have picked up just 17 from a possible 39 on the road.

THE OPPOSITION

Wigan were promoted to the Championship last summer. Manager Paul Cook would have been tasked with keeping them in the division this year and so far its been OK. They currently sit four points above the relegation zone.

Cook’s side is currently on a run which has seen them lose 8 in a row in all competitions. In fact, they have only won 1 game in 14 games. That came against Blackburn back in November.

Only Nottingham Forest (Y-64, R-2) has picked up more cards than Wigan so far this season (Y-56, R-3). Goals have been hard to come by for Wigan, having only scored 25. They have been known to be exploited by counter attacks and in wide areas. Despite not scoring many, they do create a lot – they just don’t take their chances!

ONE TO WATCH

My one to watch for WiganIt is probably no real surprise that Nick Powell is my one to watch. The former Manchester United midfielder has been heavily linked with moves away from Wigan for a while now. The 24-year old has been involved in 8 of Wigan’s goals so far this season (Goals: 4, Assists: 4).

Powell is your typical strong midfielder. He can tackle, hold on to the ball, dribble and isn’t scared to take a shot. He averages 2.8 shots per game. Quite high when you think his whole side only manage 12.7 between them.

TEAM NEWS

New signing Kortney Hause is available for selection after joining from Wolves at the start of the week. Despite making his comeback in the 0-3 defeat to Swansea, Henri Lansbury is a doubt.

Jack Grealish has returned to light training following his shin injury. Providing there is no setback, he should be back by the end of January.

Wigan have a new signing available to them in Anthony Pilkington who signed on loan from Cardiff. Michael Jacobs could return to the squad following a three-month layout. Darren Gibson and Sam Morsey are both doubts.

HEAD TO HEAD

Wigan and Aston Villa have only played each other on 23 occasions. Villa edge the head to head with 12 wins to Wigan’s 5.

Villa have a decent record against Wigan having won the previous 5 encounters. Wigan have won one in 11 games and that was back in 2012.

The first time the two sides met was back in 1981. Villa won the game 1-2 in the League Cup with goals from Gordan Cowans and Peter Withe.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Predicted XI: Kalinic; Bree, Chester, Elphick, Taylor; Whelan, McGinn, Hourihane; Bolasie, El Ghazi; Abraham.

Kick Off: 15.00 (GMT)
TV: AVTV (Outside the UK)
Tickets: Villa have sold their full allocation
Odds: Aston Villa 6/4 Wigan 2/1 Draw 12/4 (Bet365)

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