Al Habsi: Defence best form of attack

Wigan keeper Ali Al Habsi makes a flying save in a recent game at Arsenal
Wigan keeper Ali Al Habsi makes a flying save in a recent game at Arsenal
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ALI Al Habsi reckons defence is the best form of attack ahead of West Brom’s visit to the DW this afternoon.

The Oman No.1 has conceded only one goal in the last 300 minutes of football – a stoppage-time header from West Ham’s James Tomkins last month.

Bradford were unable to beat him in 120 minutes of Capital One Cup action last week, while Tottenham were also kept scoreless as Latics recorded a crucial but deserved victory at White Hart Lane last weekend.

“It’s a good feeling when you get a clean sheet – you work so hard during the week and it is the best way to be rewarded,” Al Habsi told the Evening Post.

“It also gives us a base to build on for the future.

“Tottenham is where it all started for me two years ago – my first Premier League start, my first win and my first clean sheet.

“We repeated that last weekend, and it really should have been three clean sheets in a row because we only conceded a stoppage-time goal against West Ham.

“I’m very happy with the way things are going at the moment – for me personally and the team as a whole – and long may it continue.”

Al Habsi’s recent record has coincided with him wearing his Joseph’s Goal wristband – to raise awareness into the genetic disorder NKH – and he’s more than happy to support the Evening Post-backed campaign.

“The wristband has been very lucky for me so far, and I’m happy to support the campaign,” he added.

“If we can keep keeping clean sheets and the awareness of Joseph’s Goal increases then that’s fantastic.”

Al Habsi and his colleague won’t have it easy this afternoon against the Baggies, who are flying high in fifth spot after a sparkling start to the season.

But Latics have a very good record in recent head-to-heads between the two clubs, and Al Habsi hopes home advantage will prove decisive.

“We have a good record against West Brom, especially at home, and another win would give us a massive boost heading into another round of international fixtures,” added Al Habsi.

“We are working so hard and you can see the results have reflected that.

“Tottenham was a really big three points for us, and it’s vital to get back-to-back wins in this league.

“It’s not easy to beat anyone in the Premier League, and to win at Tottenham - especially playing so well - was a big confidence-booster for us.

“Sometimes you need a bit of luck to win against big teams, but that wasn’t the case last weekend.

“All the team - from the strikers right through to the defence are playing well, and that makes a real difference to results.

“The team are in outstanding form, and the more wins we pick up the more confidence we generate, which will hopefully make us play even better.

“The fans too have been fantastic, they have confidence in their team and we need to take this on to the next level.”