TONIGHT’S Championship play-off second leg between Latics and QPR at Loftus Road promises to be just as tight as Friday night’s first leg stalemate at the DW Stadium.
Here, Paul Kendrick looks where the game could be won and lost with five key match-ups.
ROB GREEN V SCOTT CARSON
Neither ex-England goalkeeper had much to do during the first leg, Carson producing one superb stop to deny Armand Traore at the start of the second half while Green was fortunate that Jordi Gomez blasted his best chance straight at him. Both men deserve to be plying their trade in the Premier League - one man will be disappointed at full-time.
EMMERSON BOYCE V CHARLIE AUSTIN
Austin has been Rangers’ key man all season and they really struggled for goals during his absence. However, the former Burnley man hardly got a kick in the first game thanks to Boyce and his colleagues, and Latics will hope it’s the same again tonight although there will be more onus on Rangers as the home side to attack.
RICHARD DUNNE V MARTYN WAGHORN
Rangers’ veteran centre-back has the turning circle of the QE2 and Latics will look to get at him and Clint Hill on the counter-attack. Waghorn came off the bench on Friday but is expected to start tonight, and he could well be Wigan’s main goal threat with service from the likes of Shaun Maloney and Callum McManaman.
RAVEL MORRISON V JORDI GOMEZ
The on-loan West Ham midfielder was mentioned earlier in the season as a possible bolter for England’s World Cup squad, before he fell out of favour at Upton Park. Wigan’s double Player of the Year is playing arguably the best football of his career at the moment, and his ability to unlock the tightest defence could prove decisive.
HARRY REDKNAPP V UWE ROSLER
The Rangers boss tried to deflect pressure in the lead-up to the first leg by insisting Latics had the strongest squad in the division, which if anything came across as a massive own goal given the Loftus Road wage-bill is believed to be three times higher.
Rosler has masterminded Wigan’s remarkable turnaround in fortunes since his December arrival, and showed during the FA Cup run that he can motivate his side to success in big one-off matches.