Ah it's time for Fan Focus again, the weekly feature in which we talk to a writer from an opposition blog, newspaper, or other media type and find out just how the game is being viewed from their end.
This week I was delighted to chat with Kieran from SB Nation's own Wigan Athletic Blog "Pie Eaters Footie"... Be sure to check them out from time to time on www.pieeatersfootie.com or just follow Kieran himself on Twitter @HeapyLatic
So now the introductions are out the way, lets see what they have to say about our weekend encounter, the various merits of Steve Bruce and various other things from the DW...
Hello there, give us the story of the season so far for Wigan Athletic. Are you below, above or just where you thought you'd be at this time?
Kieran: It's hard to say really. In terms of where the clubs is as a whole I am more than happy where we are off the field this season. A lot of behind the scenes stuff has been going on, meaning we have a much lower wage bill and are more financially stable which was always the clubs main aim. Yet on the pitch it has been one disappointment after another since the opening games, the players just haven't been able to win matches. Some of the game we have played we have had more possession and more shots. Yet we still lose, and being bottom of the table does make it a bit of woeful start.
Is there pressure on Roberto Martinez? Some bookies have him second in the ‘sack race' behind Steve Kean...
Kieran: Not from any sensible Latics fan there isn't. The guy has changed the club from top to bottom on and off the pitch. He is trying to build not a squad but a whole new footballing ethos here to how other, to build for the future. That is something we are all happy to see, yet his tactical naivety? Is what has let us down this year, playing players out of position, and not looking to get at teams. But I wouldn't want to see him leave.
Following Martinez however is our own Steve Bruce, who's not too popular at the minute among some sections of the support. What mistakes did he make at Wigan, and do you see any of them being repeated at Sunderland?
Kieran: Yeah there is one big one. Buying loads of players, raking up thousands of pounds in the wage bill and not looking to bring in younger players, when he was here he got a few good players. Yet then he went and brought in the likes of Daniel De Ridder and Oliver Kapo who were on £30,000 a week and did nothing for the team. He seems to think throwing money at his problems will solve them, and it never usual does (Manchester City a big exception).
Bruce also cited Wigan in a recent interview as a team without expectation, there are fewer fans, and as a result there's less pressure on the team. Is this in anyway true or is he talking out his arse, again?
Kieran: At one point I would have agreed with him. When were lower down in the league we didn't expect much just 22 men giving there all to try and win a football match. Yet in the current day, we want a little bit more from our managers and players. We still want the commitment and passion, but we also want some success, okay for Wigan it will be for the most part staying in the Premier League, but if that isn't pressure to Mr Bruce, then I would worry Sunderland fans.
I recall when we announced Bruce as manager, and when we signed Lee Cattermole from you there was some ill-will from Wigan towards SAFC. Has that all calmed down now?
Kieran: Personally there was never ill-will to Sunderland. I blamed Bruce, when we first got him it looked a great appointment and when he stayed on past the first season I thought we might get somewhere with him. He is one of them men in football that I wouldn't trust him as far as I could throw him. As for Lee Cattermole, he was always going to follow Bruce wherever he went. Yet I think for some fans it felt like Sunderland were trying to push us under and out.
To the game on Saturday though, is this game as big, and as ‘must win' as we're seeing it?
Kieran: Yes most definitely. For Wigan it I our last game before a run of matches, by which the end of we could be dangling by a thread at the bottom of the table, so for us it is must win, and win well. The past few games we have deserved more and the fans, players and coaches know that. So getting the win could spear us on into a tricky December.
What do you think are the biggest dangers to the Wigan side among our personnel?
Kieran: Nicklas Bendtner up front is a big danger. Now I'm not a fan of him, his loud mouth has always meant I have taken a dislike to the player. However he has the attributes to be a great Premier League striker, tall strong and can find the net. The last few times he has met Wigan he has scored against us, and currently our defence seem to just let strikers walk through it.
Conversely, do you see a weak point in the Sunderland side where you fancy your chances?
Kieran: You have a very strong core of the team, and it's hard to see where any team can pick holes through your defence with the experience you have. But Victor Moses and Albert Crusat should have enough pace and skill to fly past your two full back. The pair have been doing it all season, it just hasn't given us the goals to win matches.
How do you see the game going, what are we in for at the weekend?
Kieran: The games have been the past tight affairs (that is if you miss out last year's 4-2). I can see it being the same again this year, the two midfields are likely to cancel each other out with them both being quite strong and able to defend well. But both defences may be looking over their shoulders for the wingers getting onto the ball over the top. So it's going to be close, and really could go either way.
And lastly mate, what's your score prediction...
Kieran: I don't like doing predictions, usual because I end up being wrong. But I am hoping that Wigan will be up for this. The lads having worked hard during the week will come into the match ready to go out and do whatever it takes to bring all three points home.
So I'm going for a 2-1 win to Wigan.
Many thanks to Kieran and Pie Eaters Footie. Check them out on http://www.pieeatersfootie.com/ ...I've even done my own one of these with them.