It was our pleasure to chat this week with Kieran, who is the editor at our fellow SB Nation blog 'Pie Eaters Footie'. This is what he had to say about Wigan Athletic ahead of the game at Everton on Saturday.
RBM - We're nearing the end of the season, and once again Wigan are in the thick of the fight to survive in the Premier League. How do the fans feel about Roberto Martinez?
PEF - Same as ever, the long term future of this club is safe and that is what really matters. We are moving at a heck of a rate of the pitch now, more than we have since Dave Whelan took over. The books are starting to balance, the club is pushing hard for new training and youth facilities, and we are starting to produce our own talent. These are things that will stand us in good stead for the future.This season, there have been times when you could question his team selection or tactics. Yet at other times he hasn’t had much choice with the players at his disposal. I can imagine a few Latics fans will be upset with the team that will feature this weekend; but it is a chance for our big boys to rest and the fringe players to shine.
RBM - With Wembley beckoning, do you feel Martinez is going to play his best side on Saturday, or will he still be keeping an eye on the relegation battle facing the Latics?
PEF - As I just mentioned before, the team that will face Everton will contain fringe players and ones returning from injury. Looking on paper who Wigan could have playing for us, it looks like a decent side. Antolin Alcaraz, Adrain Lopez and Ryo Miayichi are all likely to start to help their return from injury; while Roman Golobart, Frazer Fyvie, and Call McManaman will continue their cup runs, and hopefully for Wigan will be in the same form.It could be harder for Everton than most of your fans think. There will be a few unknowns chucked in against Everton and that maybe the spark that Wigan need.
RBM - What are the weaknesses in this Wigan side? Were any of these addressed during the January transfer window? Who else was brought in to the squad?
PEF - The problem is it’s hard to see where the problems are. We have a decent squad; it’s just a wide scale malfunction of the team which seems to have caused the problems this year. We do have an issue with being left side heavy. Roberto hasn’t been able to replace Victor Moses so far, and the man we hoped would do it (Aiden McGeady) got nerves at the last minute.
RBM - Wigan have shown some solid resilience the last few years to stay up at the top table. Does this year's squad have the same mental strength and fight in them?
PEF - Against the Red side of Merseyside, that fighting spirit was aimed more inwards than outwards. James McArthur and Emmerson Boyce bickering between themselves, in one way it is good to see the heated discussion between two frustrated players. Quick thinking by Martinez has covered the incident up to being pure passion between the players, if that’s so it is aimed the wrong way. It is the first time I have seen that happen in a Wigan shirt and hopefully the last.
RBM - Finally, a score prediction for Saturday? Who do you expect to have good games on either of the teams?
PEF - Hopefully 2-1 to Wigan; I see young Callum McManaman bagging one for Wigan and having another good game. Leighton Baines will have a good one for you, as he always does when he plays Latics, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Mr Jelavic pops up with a goal. Wigan have a tendency to let players score against them who haven’t in a while.