Accrington Stanley boss John Coleman is plotting to overcome former Reds player and manager and Wigan counterpart Leam Richardson tomorrow at the Wham Stadium.
Richardson has been in charge at the Latics since Paul Cook left in August last year, after spending eight years with the Reds from 2005-13 as player, caretaker manager and then manager.
Wigan, in 20th place, are unbeaten in three games whereas Stanley have lost their last three encounters, in 13th place, five points off the Play-Off places.
“You always look forward to games of football, that’s what you are in the job for and you can feel sorry for yourselves or you can pick yourselves up and go again,” said Coleman.
“We need to get back on a run but getting on a run is hard, you need those first couple of wins and then it takes over. You only have to look at how Burton have gone on a fantastic run and it can be done, you just have to work hard.
“We are still in a good position, we have got a lot of lads who want to give it their all and that’s all you can ask for.
“It’s been hard for Leam, with the situation and the administration, I think his experience at Accrington might have helped him cope with that a little bit.”
The Latics overcame Stanley 4-3 at the DW Stadium in December – they were 3-0 up inside 32 minutes, including a penalty. The Reds came back with two quick-fire goals to make it 3-2 but had a penalty appeal of their own turned down.
“It was a strange game,” said the Reds boss. “There were some really baffling decisions - the two penalties, theirs which shouldn’t have counted and ours which should have counted but they got flipped and that determined the result.
“Saying that, we have to play better than we did that day and Wigan have got a lot of players back now and they are in a decent run of form, so it will be difficult.”
Coleman’s side lost out 2-0 to in-form Sunderland on Tuesday.
“There was nothing in the game against arguably the best team in the league on current form, we limited them to a few chances, made a few good ones which we didn’t take ourselves.
“We haven’t hit the target so we had no shots on target which is disappointing at home in any game.
“That’s something we need to address but we have to maybe get a bit of luck, keep working hard and hopefully our results will change.”
Coleman still has the likes of Joe Pritchard, Colby Bishop and Seamus Conneely in the treatment room and confirmed Chelsea loan keeper Nathan Baxter will not be back at the Wham Stadium after a shoulder operation.
“Joe and Colby are not far away, they are getting there, and Seamus won’t be too long.
“We are getting players back but unfortunately we also have people going out but we have a big enough squad to be able to cope. We will always put a team out who can compete.
“Nathan has had an operation so he is out for the season but that gives Toby Savin a marvellous opportunity.”
17-goal striker Dion Charles has got his first call-up to the Northern Ireland squad and will play his final game for the Reds tomorrow, missing Peterborough next Saturday.
“Even though we will miss him, I am delighted for Dion,” said Coleman. “It’s testament to the hard work he has put in and the hard work the coaches have put in to try and develop him. Hopefully he will keep going in the right direction and improve even further.”
Coleman admits tomorrow will also be a poignant occasion. Richardson was a team-mate of Steve Jagielka, who sadly passed away this week, for the Reds. The pair were part of the team which won the Conference title in 2006, under boss Coleman.
“It’s been a tough week, it’s tough to come to terms with,” said Coleman. “My heart goes out to his family. All we can do is draw on the very happy memories we have of Steve, what a good job he did when he played for us and how he helped us get where we are today. We wouldn’t be where we are today without those players and that team and he was a big part of that.”