DAVE Whelan called on Wigan Athletic to build on their encouraging draw against Chelsea – and send Liverpool back up the East Lancs with their tails between their legs.
The Latics chairman jetted out this morning for his annual Christmas trip to Barbados, having been the victim of Sky’s late decision to screen tonight’s clash at the DW.
Instead of flying out hours after the final whistle, Whelan will instead have to make do with TV coverage after the game was put back 24 hours.
Despite not being there to cheer his side on, Whelan is confident Latics have what it takes to trouble the Merseysiders if they can maintain their recent resurgence.
“Liverpool will be another stiff test, but I don’t think we should be fearing anyone after Saturday’s performance,” Whelan told the Evening Post.
“We played Chelsea off the park, especially in that second half, and I’m sure the crowd would have enjoyed it as much as I did.
“It was the best we’ve played all season, and probably the best we’ve played for two or three years.
“It was just an awesome game of football, which would have been beamed all around the world, and it’s fantastic for Wigan Athletic and the town to be shown in such positive light.”
Roberto Martinez’s side had gone into Saturday’s game having conceded 15 goals and scored none in their previous three meetings with the Stamford Bridge outfit.
But it was Chelsea who were hanging on at the end after Jordi Gomez deservedly levelled the scores with two minutes remaining.
“There was only team in it in that second half,” Whelan gushed. “And we are playing well at the moment.
“Roberto always had the faith that we were going to get there, that we’d turn it round eventually, and we are doing exactly that.”
Latics are defending a proud unbeaten home record against Liverpool under Martinez, and Whelan admits he’s gutted at having to miss the big game.
“It’s a shame I’ll miss it, but there’s nothing we can do,” Whelan added.
“When we planned it all, the game was supposed to be on the Tuesday, but it got moved to Wednesday for the TV and that was that.
“I’ll watch the game over there, though, and I think we can get something if we play as well as we did the other night.
“One thing’s for sure – we’re all in for good Christmas if the lads carry on like that.”
Martinez is expected to name an unchanged side for the game, with Hugo Rodallega the only slight doubt after jarring a knee during his late cameo against Chelsea.
Antolin Alcaraz has reported no after-effects from the rib injury he picked up at West Brom, and will continue alongside Gary Caldwell and Maynor Figueroa at the heart of the defence.