There were contrasting fortunes for these sides in the midweek FA Cup replays. While Wigan won 1-0 away to 18-game unbeaten Bournemouth, Sunderland lost at home to Championship side Bolton.
Martin O’Neill admitted his frustration with Sunderland’s lack of consistency, following up an excellent 3-0 league win over West Ham with a tame cup exit. For all the talent at his disposal, O’Neill’s side appears unable to go on a run of good results to put relegation worries to bed.
Wigan have, as ever, been similarly inconsistent. They finished 2012 with a 3-0 win at Aston Villa and began 2013 by falling 4-0 at home to Manchester United. Their last Premier League game was a 1-1 draw at Fulham, in which Roberto Martinez’s men largely outplayed their opponents.
Wigan are perched on the edge of the relegation zone, above Aston Villa on goal difference, but have been boosted by key midfielder Shaun Maloney extending his contract to 2015. They have also signed goalkeeper Joel Robles on loan from Atletico Madrid.
Martinez has no new injury concerns, but remains without long-term absentees Ivan Ramis, Antolin Alcaraz, Adrian Lopez, Ben Watson, Ryo Miyaichi and Albert Crusat. Sunderland have new signings Alfred N’Diaye and Kader Mangane available.
KICK-OFF: Saturday, 3pm
PAST THREE MEETINGS...
Sunderland 1 (Fletcher) Wigan 0, Premier League, September 2012
Wigan 1 (Rodallega) Sunderland 4 (Gardner, McLean, Sessegnon, Vaughan), Premier League, January 2012
Sunderland 1 (Larsson) Wigan 2 (Gomez, Di Santo), Premier League, November 2011
Out of 19 league meetings, Wigan have won six, Sunderland six and there have been seven draws.
Wigan have conceded 22 goals at home in the league this season – the most of any top-flight club – and have two wins out of 11 home games, the last of those a 3-2 victory over Reading in November.
Sunderland have two away wins in the Premier League this season – against Fulham and Southampton.
Steven Fletcher scored the winner against Wigan in September, his fifth in his first four games for Sunderland, but then failed to find the net again until 18 November.
Fletcher has eight Premier League goals for Sunderland – Wigan’s top scorers, Jordi Gomez and Arouna Kone, have six apiece.
Wigan to win: 2.16
Sunderland to win: 3.85
TV: Highlights on BBC1 at 10.30pm.