Next five games crucial, says Al Habsi

Wigan Player Ali Al Habsi saves Kevin Davies' penalty
Wigan Player Ali Al Habsi saves Kevin Davies' penalty

ALI Al Habsi says Wigan’s next five fixtures will make or break their season after his old club Bolton piled on the pressure at the DW Stadium.

Despite Al Habsi’s heroics, the Trotters eased to a 3-1 victory in the Lancashire derby that extended Wigan’s losing sequence to six matches – and leaves them second-bottom of the Premier League ladder.

With a daunting schedule awaiting them in December, including meetings with Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool, Al Habsi says Latics must re-discover their form as quickly as possible – or risk being cut adrift at the bottom.

“We have put ourselves in a very difficult position – even at this early stage of the season – and everyone has to stick together,” Al Habsi told the Evening Post.

“The advantage we have is we were in this situation for most of last year and we managed to turn it around, so we know what we have to do.

“We’ll need to show a similar kind of spirit and determination to do it again, and hopefully that will start next week at Newcastle.

“We know we have a very, very tough run of fixtures coming up in December – all big teams, all top teams.

“Between now and then we have to pick up as many points as we can, so we can go into that run with confidence.”

Latics came within a few seconds of winning at St James’ Park last year, only to be pegged back by a 94th-minute equaliser by Fabricio Coloccini.

But they’ll have to play a whole lot better than they did against the Trotters if they are to have any chance of arresting their slump.

“It was a big disappointment for the team,” Al Habsi recognised.

“We gave three easy, cheap goals away, and when you do that you’re never going to get anything from a game.

“You can’t make any kind of mistakes in this league because you’ll get punished. It’ll cost you the game.

“At 2-1, the game was very tight and we had chances to equalise, but another big mistake at the end cost us any chance of getting the three points.”

On the trip to Tyneside, the Oman No.1 added: “Newcastle are a very good team, and have started this season fantastically well.

“We got a result there last year and we are capable of getting a result there next week – but only if we cut out the silly mistakes.”