James Heneghan's Wigan Athletic v Northampton Town preview

Chris Long fights for possession when Cobblers last played Wigan in January 2018.Chris Long fights for possession when Cobblers last played Wigan in January 2018.
Chris Long fights for possession when Cobblers last played Wigan in January 2018.
Fixture: Wigan Athletic v Northampton Town, Sky Bet League One

Date/time: Saturday, October 31, 3pm kick-off

Venue: DW Stadium

Forecast: 13C, showers

Outs and doubts: Wigan: Will Keane, Gavin Massey, Lee Evans, Viv Solomon-Otabor. Northampton: Joe Nuttall, Benny Ashley-Seal, Joseph Mills, Scott Pollock

Betting: Wigan 21/20, draw 12/5, Northampton 27/10

Form guide: Latics LDLLLL, Cobblers LLWLLW

Current league positions: 19th v 20th

Possible line-ups: Wigan (3-5-2): Jones; Tilt, James, Long; Aasgaard, Palmer, Merrie, Gardner, Pearce; Crankshaw, Garner. Northampton (3-4-1-2): Mitchell; Bolger, Sheehan, Horsfall; Harriman, Missilou, Sowerby, Adams; Hoskins; Chukwuemeka, Rose.

Man in the middle: Joshua Smith

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Last time out: MK Dons 2 Wigan 0; Portsmouth 4 Northampton 0

Most recent meeting: Monday, January 1, 2018 - Northampton 0 Wigan 1 (Powell)

Record v Wigan: P35 W5 D12 L18

James Heneghan's preview: In times gone by, a trip to Wigan Athletic would have been a daunting place for the Cobblers to try and snap out of their current slump.

The Latics spent eight years in the Premier League between 2005 and 2013 and only a few short months ago they lost just one of 15 successive Championship fixtures, a run that included a remarkable 8-0 demolition of Hull City.

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But Wigan are one of numerous clubs whose on-field endeavours have been severely hampered by off-field problems. What should have been a comfortable mid-table finish in the Championship last season descended into a battle for survival and, eventually, relegation due to a 12-point deduction handed out for entering administration.

Despite then-manager Paul Cook inspiring a stunning run of form end to the season, Wigan could not avoid a return to League One. Cook then left, as did a whole host of players including those who established in the team and others who have been tipped for future stardom.

Top scorer Kieffer Moore was one of four players to fetch over a £1million but even now, Wigan's problems persist. Thursday was described as 'D-Day' for the club as the EFL sat down with the administrators, the supporters' club and the Spanish bidders hoping to see their takeover rubber-stamped.

On the pitch, it's not much better. After impressive back-to-back wins over Portsmouth and Doncaster, Wigan have lost five of their last six matches under new manager John Sheirdan and now sit level on points with the Cobblers at the wrong end of the League One table.

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That makes tomorrow's encounter an important one for both teams, even at this early stage of the campaign. The stature of some of their opponents is a reasonable explanation for Town's slow start to the season but those excuses will not hold firm should they continue to struggle in the coming weeks.

The trip to Wigan is the first of five successive matches against teams currently in the bottom half of the table. MK Dons are next on the schedule followed by Accrington Stanley, Burton Albion and Rochdale, mixed in with a couple of cup ties.

There have been signs in Town's performances that they are not far away but those positives are being offset by frustrating mistakes. Take Tuesday's game at Portsmouth, the Cobblers played well for an hour but failed to make the most of their superiority and then three soft goals, followed by a late fourth, handed Pompey a comfortable victory.

It is sharpening up on those small but crucial details which will make all the difference and manager Keith Curle knows as well as anyone that he will be judged by results.

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He is again without at least three players this weekend and it could be four if striker Benny Ashley-Seal does not recover in time. Sheridan, meanwhile, has a few more headaches following the loss of Will Keane and Gavin Massey during defeat at MK Dons in midweek.

Prediction: Wigan Athletic 1 Northampton Town 2

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