Preview: Blackburn Rovers vs. Wigan Athletic

Blackburn Rovers play host to Wigan Athletic on Monday evening looking for the win which will move the club back into the Championship playoff places.

Meanwhile, the Latics, under new boss Shaun Maloney, are attempting to end a prolonged winless streak to get off the bottom of the standings.

Match preview

Blackburn Rovers boss Jon Dahl Tomasson on October 1, 2022

Given their level of inconsistency, it is fair to say that Blackburn have been riding their luck when it comes to remaining in the top six of the table.

Thirteen defeats in 28 Championship fixtures meant that they were achieving something which was unprecedented, yet the inevitable happened on Friday evening as West Bromwich Albion defeated Coventry City to edge Rovers out of the playoff spots for the time being.

On a positive note, however, Jon Dahl Tomasson’s side have only lost once in six matches in all competitions, three of those games being in the FA Cup.

After being held to a 2-2 draw with Birmingham City at Ewood Park on January 28, Blackburn came through the replay to set up a trip to Leicester City.

Tomasson will be far more focused on a crucial period of the season, with trips to Watford and West Brom to follow their North West showdown with Wigan.

Former Hibernian head coach Shaun Maloney pictured April 16, 2022

The Latics bowed out of the FA Cup at the third round stage after a narrow replay loss to Luton Town, but new boss Maloney will be happy to focus on matters in the second tier.

Wigan’s hierarchy made the bold decision to part company with Kolo Toure after just nine matches, a call which they feel was justified with none of those games ending with a win.

In Toure’s defence, his team had been improving, drawing with Cardiff and Luton in successive matches before back-to-back defeats at home to the latter seemingly forced the Wigan board’s hand.

Four points adrift of safety with a game in hand on 21st-placed Cardiff, the scenario in front of Maloney is not as bad as it may initially seem, although he is faced with the task of ending a winless streak which has lasted since November 12.

Team News

Tyler Morton in action for Blackburn Rovers in October 2022

Tomasson is hopeful that defender Daniel Ayala will recover from a knock to his ankle to take his place in the Blackburn XI.

Sorba Thomas will be considered for a debut after his switch from Huddersfield Town, but Ryan Hedges is more likely to start having remained as an unused substitute in the replay versus Birmingham.

While Tyler Morton should also return to the starting lineup for the same reasons, it remains to be seen whether John Buckley or Lewis Travis will only be named among the replacements.

Maloney’s first selection is somewhat of an unknown, particularly formation wise with Wigan having recently been lining up with a three-man backline.

Martin Kelly and Danel Sinani may be handed immediate debuts after their loan moves from West Brom and Norwich City respectively, while Omar Rekik should also be in contention after his temporary transfer from Arsenal.

Blackburn Rovers possible starting lineup:
Kaminski; Rankin-Costello, Ayala, Wharton, Pickering; Buckley, Morton; Hedges, Dack, Brereton Diaz; Vale

Wigan Athletic possible starting lineup:
Amos; Kelly, Caulker, Tilt; Nyambe, Power, Naylor, McClean; Lang, Sinani; Keane

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