Wigan Athletic boss on Birmingham 'wait', the league table - and injury boost!

Shaun Maloney admits he's been counting the seconds until the chance to make amends for Wigan Athletic's first defeat under his management.
Watch more of our videos on Shots!
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

Latics host Birmingham this weekend looking to exorcise the demons of last Saturday's derby loss at Preston.

Read More
Wigan Athletic: The 12th Man - 'We've come too far to lose faith in this group. ...

It's the first of five games in the space of a fortnight before the international break.

Shaun Maloney can't wait for the Birmingham game - to exorcise the demons of the Preston defeatShaun Maloney can't wait for the Birmingham game - to exorcise the demons of the Preston defeat
Shaun Maloney can't wait for the Birmingham game - to exorcise the demons of the Preston defeat
Hide Ad
Hide Ad

And Maloney can't wait to get stuck into the task of dragging Latics out of the Championship drop zone.

"I love the games coming thick and fast, I love the challenge," he said.

"And I wish this game had come straight after Preston rather than having to wait a week later.

"It's a big game, but I'm just really looking for the challenge in front of us.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"Birmingham will bring a similar challenge to Preston last weekend.

"They can play long and hurt you with a physical striker and another with great movement.

"But if you allow them to play through you in the final third, they have talented players also.

"Yes it's a challenge, but it's also an opportunity for us to impose ourselves on them as well."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

A Latics win would take them to within five points of out-of-form Birmingham, who have slipped down the table in recent weeks.

Maloney, though, is not paying too much heed to the standings.

"I don't look at the table too much at the moment, and waste too much energy on working out where other teams are," he said.

"It's mainly on us, and that's why I was so frustrated after Preston, because I know if we'd really brought our best version to the table, we could have given ourselves a better chance of winning the game.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"Looking at this week, we have to push for that kind of performance for the whole 90 minutes."

With his two home games having produced a big win over fellow strugglers Huddersfield, and the best performance of his tenure in the goalless draw against Norwich, Maloney wants another good showing against City.

"We knew we had to make this place a very difficult place for opponents to play," he said.

"We start at zero again, we respect what Birmingham bring, and we have to make it very difficult for them to get near our box.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"There are definitely going to be moments where we can play and, as we saw against Norwich in the last home game, we need to take full advantage of those."

Maloney will make late decisions on whether to include striker Josh Magennis and defender Omar Rekik.

"Josh has trained today (Thursday), hopefully he'll train tomorrow, so hopefully he'll come into the equation for Saturday," he added.

"Omar has had another week, which is really important for him and where he is at the moment, and he's now pushing for a start."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"Jordan (Cousins) and Charlie (Wyke) are still probably a bit further back."

Latics won the corresponding fixture at St Andrew’s at the start of the season, thanks to a second-half goal from substitute Nathan Broadhead.