Wigan v Preston
Saturday February 8, 12:30
Wigan seal back-to-back wins
Wigan recorded back-to-back league wins for the first time this season as the Latics followed up their vital victory over Sheffield Wednesday by humbling title-challengers Leeds at Elland Road last weekend. The two triumphs have pushed Paul Cook's troops to within two points of Championship safety as the campaign enters the final-third.
Leeds consistently created opportunities but profligate finishing from the promotion hopefuls ensured Wigan were always in with a chance. Athletic went ahead against the run of play just before the hour mark when Joe Williams' deflected corner somehow made its way over the line, and the Latics were happy to sit back and soak up pressure thereafter.
Centre-back Cedric Kipre and goalkeeper David Marshall excelled as Wigan kept Leeds at bay in the latter stages, whilst Tom Pearce could have doubled the lead late on. Cook understandably piled on the praise post-match, saying, "We were 1-0 down at half-time in midweek, so to have finished the week with six points is brilliant. We showed desire, determination and a real spirit."
Preston lose vital ground on the top-six
Preston picked up a share of the spoils against Swansea last weekend as Alex Neil's men lost vital ground on the top-six. The Lilywhites extended their recent unbeaten streak to four but were left frustrated at Deepdale in a contest shorn of consistent and quality goalscoring opportunities.
Scott Sinclair registered a brilliant first goal for North End since joining from Celtic in January to give Alex Neil's team a first-half lead. The former Swansea ace drove forward and then cut in from the right flank before curling a shot beyond the helpless visiting keeper. However, the lead was short-lived as the Welsh outfit equalised only five minutes later.
Preston came closest to finding a late winner when Patrick Bauer's header was pushed over, but in truth, a draw was a fair result with neither club capable of generating more than 0.70 Expected Goals (xG) from open play. Post-match Neil said his team weren't at their best at their best in the first 45 minutes but was pleased with his side's response after the interval.
Latics relish DW Stadium showdown
Wigan have enjoyed their recent meetings with Lancashire rivals Preston at the DW Stadium, taking top honours in three of five unbeaten home fixtures here since the start of 2003/04. That sample includes a comfortable 2-0 success here in the duos most recent encounter in Wigan with PNE firing blanks in three of their most recent four trips to the DW.
Wigan 2.747/4 have earned 19 (66%) of their 29-point tally at the DW Stadium this season with Paul Cook's men pocketing W5-D4-L5 here across their 14 fixtures. Even so, the Latics have only collected four points from a possible 18 (W1-D1-L4) when hosting the top-10, whilst no second-tier team has scored fewer home goals than Athletic's total of 14 this term.
Preston 2.789/5 boast the division's best home record but the Lilywhites have toiled on their travels (W3-D5-L6). Despite their troubles on their road, North End have managed to secure 10 points from four away days at bottom-eight (W3-D1-L0) Championship strugglers this season whilst restricting their hosts to a solitary strike in six hours of action against the same standard of opposition..
None of the past five encounters between Wigan and Preston have paid out for Both Teams To Score backers and backing a repeat in Saturday's showdown holds plenty of appeal at 1.90 quotes with Betfair Sportsbook.
This meeting pits together the lowest home and the lowest away goalscorers with BTTS banking in just 12 (43%) of their combined 28 home/away contests in 2019/20. Looking deeper at those 28 collective clashes, the pair have accrued 8/28 (29%) clean sheets, as well as failing to score themselves in 10/28 (36%) with games averaging 2.11 goals.