Resurgent Wigan to test Jol's resolve - Game preview - Wigan (h)

WIGAN, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 29: Moussa Dembele of Fulham scores his teams second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Wigan Athletic and Fulham at DW Stadium on October 29, 2011 in Wigan, England. (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)

Wigan Athletic are seemingly the ship that never sinks - the fighter that never goes down. There's an uncanny ability at the DW Stadium to avoid relegation to the nether regions of Championship football in the season's dying moments and it has become something of a charming trait. Warming though it may be, you can feel the frustration in the Lancashire air that, despite the good end of season form, there is always a subsequent struggle throughout the next campaign as they wind their way round a vicious and somewhat depressing circle.

Maybe next year will provide a change; who knows? What is certain, however, is that we face a Wigan side in rather fine form, still scrapping and scraping for their Premier League lives, and that makes the challenge of defeating them that little bit harder.

Fulham will have a go, though, what with eight place well within plausible grasp. Roberto Martinez will be a hard man to outwit but Martin Jol doesn't come without intelligence and a nous for playing fine football. As such, expect a decent footballing display on Saturday afternoon.

Another thing to expect, if statistics are to be believed, is a Fulham win. On the last ten occasions that the two sides have met, Fulham have won six and drawn four. As well as this, Fulham also claimed their first away win of the season - quite a feat when you consider it was in October - over Wigan with what was a rather sterile performance.

Yet, as stated, Wigan make their trip to London in fine form, having won four of their last five games. Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool are three of the teams they've defeated and confidence in the Martinez camp is extraordinarily high.

Fulham are happy too, though, with two wins on the bounce and a more-than-deserved draw with Chelsea lifting them up to within 3 points of eighth placed Liverpool. We sit nine points above Wigan.

Wigan will welcome the return to fitness of Hugo Rodallega, who has been absent throughout their resplendent form, but Shaun Maloney, who scored the winner in the United tie, faces a fitness test.

The news if brighter for Jol, who will look to Pavel Pogrebyak and Andrew Johnson to lead the line on Saturday, both of whom have been injured over the past two weeks. Bryan Ruiz will remain out until seasons end, while Steve Sidwell is still to be nursed to full fitness.

Predicted line up: Schwarzer; Riise, Hangeland, Hughes, Kelly; Dempsey, Murphy, Diarra, Dembele; Johnson, Pogrbenyak

Score prediction: Fulham 2-0 Wigan

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