Ali's case for the defence

Ali Al Habsi makes a flying save
Ali Al Habsi makes a flying save
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ALI Al Habsi believes defence is the best form of attack for Wigan Athletic at the moment.

The Oman No.1 has been in top form since returning to the team last month following shoulder surgery.

His clean sheet at Middlesbrough in midweek was his fifth in 10 matches – a remarkable record that has coincided with Wigan's upturn in fortunes.

"We are looking very solid at the moment, and there confidence in the team is very good at the moment," Al Habsi told the Evening Post.

"Clean sheets are so important to everyone, not just goalkeepers.

"It means that even when you don't manage to win a game, you at least come away with a point. If you work on that basis, you will not go far wrong. And the clean sheets are not just for me. They are for the whole defence, the midfield, and also the forwards who all work so hard."

Next up for Latics is a home game against Charlton, a clash Al Habsi believes Latics need to take full advantage of.

"Our home form will be key to any hopes we have of getting into the play-offs," he added. "We know there are a lot of teams finding form at the moment like ourselves.

"But there are also teams who are struggling a little, like Derby and Burnley.

"We are looking strong at the moment, and if we can remain strong at home then we give ourselves every chance.

"The atmosphere at home has been brilliant this season, everyone is in it together."