Gerard Houllier will be hoping record signing Darren Bent can build on his debut winner over Man City with another goalscoring display against fellow strugglers Wigan. Villa’s win against City and more importantly a clean sheet over one of the league’s most potent attacking forces, served as a real boost to the club’s survival hopes and left Villa fans wondering how far the side can go with the new signings in place. Bent’s fellow new arrival Jean Makoun was presented to the fans at Villa Park last time out and is in line to feature against Wigan after being granted international clearance. Back-to-back wins is feat that the club has not achieved all season but Villa must see this as a fantastic opportunity to correct this and improve on a dismal away record this term. Roberto Martinez will be hoping his side can bounce back from a convincing 3-0 defeat to Arsenal at the weekend in an astonishingly one sided encounter. Houllier will be hoping that Wigan’s key men Hugo Rodallega, Charles N’Zogbia and Myanor Figueroa, who have all been linked to the club will not rain on his 3-day parade!
Loan signing Kyle Walker was a late exclusion from the City game with a back injury but could be fit to start. However, an impressive deputy display from Carlos Cuellar may see him settle for a place on the bench with Villa’s back four finally back to their best last time out.
Absentees remain the same otherwise, with Luke Young, Fabian Delph and Stephen Ireland all sidelined with knee problems. New recruit Jean Makoun will be hoping to make a similar impact to that of Walker and Bent and could be in line for a debut after being confirmed in the preliminary squad to travel to the DW Stadium. Squad rotation however is unlikely with the likes of Stiliyan Petrov putting in good shifts in centre midfield against City. Nigel Reo-Coker will also be hoping to regain a starting place but competition is more intense than ever and who will or will not miss out is unknown.
Emile Heskey returns from suspension after a three match ban but will be in a similar scenario to the likes of Makoun after the starting XI that defeated City all made strong claims to retain their places.
Wigan could be buoyed by the return of long term absentees James McCarthy and Emerson Boyce but will definitely be without club captain Gary Caldwell after the centre back was sent off for a professional foul against Arsenal.
Ali Al-Habsi was linked to a move to Villa Park last month and was one of a total of around one player’s who can be content from their display at the Emirates Stadium. As mentioned, Wigan will be hoping that the likes of star men and and fellow Villa linked players Hugo Rodallega and Charles N’Zogbia can ensure victory for the home side.
Possible Starting XI: Friedel; Cuellar, Collins, Dunne, Clark; Albrighton, Petrov, Makoun, Downing; A Young; Bent
Key Man: Jean Makoun
Goalscorer(s): Bent, A Young, Heskey
Final Score: 1-3
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