Al Habsi hopes Wigan can build on vital victory

Ali Al Habsi celebrates after Wigan's win at Rotherham
Ali Al Habsi celebrates after Wigan's win at Rotherham

ALI Al Habsi has called on Wigan Athletic to hammer home the advantage from Saturday’s vital victory at Rotherham in their back-to-back home clashes against Watford and Bolton.

Latics reduced the gap between themselves and Championship safety to just six points with nine matches remaining thanks to the 2-1 win over the Millers.

If we can beat Watford that would set us up nicely for a big derby game on Saturday. We have to stay strong and push on for the last nine games

Three more points against the Hornets tomorrow night would mean they could theoretically move out of the drop zone next weekend with another positive result against the Trotters.

And Al Habsi believes the magnitude of the win at relegation rivals Rotherham cannot be underestimated.

“This was the biggest game of the season,” he told the Evening Post.

“Everyone knew how important the game was, and the fact we had to win it.

“Hopefully we can take that into the Watford game now.

“It’s really important we need to start picking up wins at home.

“If we can beat Watford that would set us up nicely for a big derby game on Saturday.

“We have to stay strong and push on for the last nine games.

“Hopefully this win can be the turning point of the season for us.

“We have had this situation in the Premier League and why can’t we do it?

“We have great belief, a great team, a great manager and we are all t0gether.”

Al Habsi, along with two-goal Jermaine Pennant, was the hero of Saturday afternoon, pulling off an astounding double save to deny Jordan Bowery an equaliser with just two minutes remaining.

Not a bad way for the Oman No.1 to celebrate his 150th appearance for the club.

Especially considering he only received a late call-up after Scott Carson reported a sore back on the morning of the game.

“I only knew two hours before the game that I’d be playing,” Al Habsi revealed.

“Sometimes that’s difficult, but obviously I have a lot of experience and that allowed me to cope.

“There was pressure but it was a good pressure, and it was a special day for me.

“The way the game finished with the save on 88 minutes, the three points, on my 150th appearance, I am very happy with the way it went.”

On THAT save, he added: “It was one of the best I have ever made.

“It was so important for me, the team and the fans, because the three points were so special.

“It helped the team to get the win, and that makes it even more important.

“Sometimes you make saves but you lose the game and it doesn’t matter as much.

“This one mattered and that’s why it was so important.”