Meet the opposition: Wigan Athletic

28th December 2018
First team

Swansea City and Wigan Athletic will be desperate to get back to winning ways when they meet at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday (3pm).

The two sides have been on losing runs and ending the calendar year with three points would be a timely boost heading into 2019.

The sides played out a goalless draw in October, but how are the Latics shaping up as the season heads into its second half?

What’s their story?

The Latics are in their first season back in the second tier having won the League One

title under Paul Cook last term.

Formed in 1932, Wigan became a Football League club in 1978 after 46 years in the local leagues.

They have enjoyed the finest period in their history over the last 15 years, reaching the Championship for the first time in 2004 and then moving on to the Premier League.

They spent eight seasons in the top-flight and, under the guidance of former Swansea manager Roberto Martinez, won the FA Cup in 2013 by stunning Manchester City at Wembley thanks to Ben Watson’s goal.

They were relegated the same season and then dropped into League One in 2015. They won the division the following season,  but were relegated the season after that before getting back up with another title triumph in 2018.

How’s their form?

They enjoyed an excellent start to the 2018-19 season, winning five of their first 10 games, and were as high as third at one stage.

They were seventh following the goalless draw against the Swans at the DW Stadium back in October, but the going has got tougher in the intervening period.

The Latics have lost their last four games without scoring, and have tasted victory just once in 11 fixtures heading into their trip to SA1.

Who’s the boss?

Cook, 51, has been in charge of Wigan since May 2017, assuming the reigns following their relegation from the Championship.

The 51-year-old enjoyed a lengthy playing career as a central midfielder, including notable stints with the Latics, Wolves, Coventry City, and Burnley.

He moved into management with a short spell in charge of Southport, before enjoying a successful tenure at Irish club Sligo Rovers.

He moved on to Accrington Stanley and then to Chesterfield, guiding the latter to the League Two title in 2014 and successfully keeping them in League One the following season.

He joined Portsmouth in May 2015 and led them to League Two glory in 2017, before moving to his current role.

Who are the key men?

Nick Powell and Will Grigg have been the main goal threats for Wigan, scoring four goals apiece so far this season, although Powell is currently sidelined with a hamstring problem.

They have Wales international Lee Evans – on loan from Sheffield United - in midfield along with Egypt international and influential skipper Sam Morsy, who recently put pen to paper on a new contract.

Callum McManaman, part of the FA Cup winning side in 2013, is back in Wigan colours having rejoined last summer.

He impressed against West Brom on Boxing Day and could be in line for his second league start of the season at the Liberty.