Wigan Athletic v Barnsley
Sunday 8th May, 12:30pm KO
Barnsley travel to Wigan on Sunday knowing victory will all but guarantee the Club a play-off place.
The Reds are level on points with Scunthorpe but with Paul Heckingbottom’s men enjoying a slightly better goal difference, a win at the DW Stadium should secure the Club sixth spot.
Alongside Barnsley and Scunny, Gillingham remain in the hunt for the final play-off place and if the Reds want to hold onto that position they will have to try and pick up just their second win in five games.
Three draws in their last four outings have halted Barnsley’s promotion push slightly but unbeaten in their last seven away from Oakwell, they travel to Lancashire confident of clinching a massive three points.
Hosts Wigan meanwhile, go into the game having secured their promotion back to the Championship at the first time of asking last weekend.
A 4-0 win at Blackpool confirmed their return to the second tier and also saw them all-but crowned champions in a season which has seen them lose just once in their last 24 League games.
Latics have also won eight of their last 11 home matches but despite that, the Reds will be hoping that Gary Caldwell’s men – who are three points and 20 goals better off than second-placed Burton Albion – take their eyes off the ball come Sunday afternoon.
Barnsley and Wigan will meet for the third time this season in Sunday’s crunch League One clash.
Back in December the Clubs met twice in the space of two weeks, with the Reds securing a penalty shoot-out victory in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy following a 2-2 draw, before Latics earned a 2-0 League One success at Oakwell six days before Christmas.
That Wigan victory was the Club’s sixth win in the last seven games in this fixture and with the Reds having never won a League clash between the sides, they will be eager to change the record books this weekend.
Paul Heckingbottom could name an unchanged line-up for the third game running on Sunday afternoon.
That would see Josh Scowen continue to deputise at right-back, while Ashley Fletcher will look to build on his two goals from last weekend alongside top goal scorer Sam Winnall in attack.
One change that could be made however depends on the fitness of full-back Aidy White who is close to a return, but the Reds are set to be without James Bree, George Smith, Marley Watkins and Ryan Williams once again as they go in search of a vital victory.
For already-promoted Wigan, striker Will Grigg will be eager to end the campaign as the division’s top goal scorer.
The former Brentford man has 24 to his name in League One so far this term but with Swindon’s Nicky Ajose only two behind him, the 24-year-old will be looking to increase his tally on Sunday afternoon.
Alongside Grigg in the Wigan attack, Yann Wildschut will be eager for a start after coming off the bench to net twice in last weekend’s 4-0 success at Blackpool.
Elsewhere, former Barnsley man and Latics’ player of the season David Perkins will be in the heart of the Wigan midfield, while vice-captain Jason Pearce will be hoping for a starting berth after being an unused substitute last weekend.
Man in the Middle
Tony Harrington will take charge of a Barnsley game for the second time this season on Sunday afternoon. Back in November the Cleveland-based official watched over the Reds as they suffered a 2-1 home defeat against Port Vale.
Despite that, the loss was Barnsley’s first in Harrington’s company, having drawn against Brighton in the 2013-14 campaign and having beaten Coventry 1-0 in March of last season with Harrington as the man in the middle.
Sunday’s hosts Wigan have not yet tasted defeat in their two previous meetings with this weekend’s referee, with a 2-1 win at home to Huddersfield back in 2013 and a goalless draw against Brentford in October 2014 which remains their most recent meeting with Harrington.
In that game, the North East-based official brandished two yellow cards but so far this term he has shown 70 yellows and just two reds in 29 games.
Their Star Man
In a season which has included many strong individual and team performances, Wigan boast a whole host of players who could be regarded as their star man. One player who has been consistently key in firing them back towards the Championship however has been summer acquisition Will Grigg.
The 24-year-old front man arrived at the DW Stadium for a fee of just under £1million from Brentford in July and netted six times in his first 11 appearances for the Club. Despite that positive start, the former MK Dons loanee then struck just twice in his next 11 matches with a double against Barnsley in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy his only goals in a rare barren spell.
The Walsall academy graduate soon put things right however with 10 goals in his next 11 outings which included his first hat-trick for the Club in a 3-0 home success against Port Vale.
Those goals took Grigg onto 18 for the season but with only 10 important games left to play as Latics went in search of promotion, many questioned if the forward could continue his fine form.
The answer to that query has been a resounding yes however with the Northern Ireland international finding the back of the net nine times in his last eight matches including braces in big wins against Swindon, Shrewsbury and Southend, as well as one in last weekend’s promotion winning success at Blackpool.
That end of season form has taken Grigg onto 27 for the campaign in all competitions and with five assists to his name also this term, Wigan can safely say they have secured one of, if not the signing of the season in League One.
Following spells back in his native Trinidad & Tobago with San Juan Jabloteh and Defence Force, Jason Scotland joined Dundee United in 2003 following a successful trial. After two years at Tannadice, the forward signed for fellow Scottish side St Johnstone in August 2005.
An impressive two seasons in Perth which saw him net 42 goals in 81 games earned Scotland a move south of the border and to the then League One side Swansea City in May 2007. The bulky front man was an instant hit at the Liberty Stadium and scored a staggering 29 goals to help his new side win promotion to the Championship.
The in-form forward returned in the 2008-09 campaign with another 24 goals as the Swans missed out on the play-off places by just six points. Following two highly successful seasons, Scotland was on the move again during the summer of 2009; joining Premier League Wigan for a fee in the region of £2million.
Unfortunately for the former Trinidad & Tobago international, things did not go as swimmingly in the top flight; ending his one and only season with Wigan on two goals in 36 appearances
Following that disappointing return, Scotland moved back down to the Championship in 2010; penning a deal with Ipswich where he would spend two-and-a-half seasons before completing a switch to Barnsley in January 2013.
The likeable forward became an instant hit at Oakwell, scoring in his first three games for the Club in consecutive wins against Millwall, Blackpool and Middlesbrough. With the Reds pushing hard for survival, Scotland netted just twice in his next 16 outings for the Club but after some more positive results they went into the final game of the season knowing there was still hope.
A 2-2 draw at rivals Huddersfield which included a sixth Barnsley goal for Scotland left the Reds a point above the drop zone and after Peterborough suffered a 3-2 final day defeat at Crystal Palace it was the Posh who were down and the Reds who were safe.
Following that escape, Scotland hit two goals at the start of the 2013-14 season but with his chances becoming limited the forward returned to Scotland and to Hamilton in January 2014. The 37-year-old spent a season-and-a-half with the Accies and despite helping them secure promotion to the Scottish Premiership in May 2014, the former Tyke was released at the end of last season and in October he joined League One side Stenhousemuir.
Wigan’s last five at home: (DWWWW)
Wigan 1-1 Peterborough United
Wigan 1-0 Bradford City
Wigan 1-0 Rochdale
Wigan 1-0 Coventry City
Wigan 4-1 Southend United
Barnsley’s last five away from home: (WWWDD)
Walsall 1-3 Barnsley
Fleetwood Town 0-2 Barnsley
Port Vale 0-1 Barnsley
Burton Albion 0-0 Barnsley
Sheffield United 0-0 Barnsley
Going to the match?
Wigan Athletic plays at the DW Stadium, its address is as follows:
How to get there
Exit M6 at Junction 27 and turn left at end of slip road. Turn right at T-junction, sign-posted Shevington. After 1 mile turn left into Old Lane (signed B5375 Standish Lower-Ground). The road winds through countryside for approx. 2 miles. At traffic lights turn right into Scot Lane. Take the first left turn into Stadium Way for the entrance to the Stadium Car Parks or second left for the main entrance.From the North:
Exit M6 at Junction 25. At end of slip road (approx. 1 mile) turn left, sign-posted Wigan A49. Continue past Sainsbury's and cross the roundabout, 2nd exit. Follow signs for Wigan A49 for 1.2 miles to saddle roundabout. At the Saddle roundabout, take first exit sign-posted Standish A49 into Robin Park Road, driving past the ASDA superstore. Follow signs for DW Stadium.From South and West:
Exit M6 J26 (M58/M6 Interchange). Exit the motorway by following the signs for Wigan/Orrell/Upholland. At the end of slip road, turn right. Continue on this road to the Saddle Junction (approx 2.5 miles). At the saddle roundabout, take first exit and drive past the Asda Superstore. Follow signs for DW Stadium. From the West (Alternative route):
Exit M61 at Junction 6 (sign-posted Chorley, Horwich A6027) and take first exit at roundabout. NB: do not exit at Junction 5 which is sign-posted Wigan. At next roundabout, take first left (sign-posted Westhoughton A6, Wigan B5238) into Chorley Road. After 0.3 miles, turn right (sign-posted Wigan B5238). After 1.8 miles, turn left at Aspull Roundabout (sign-posted Wigan B5238). After 2.2 miles, just after Earl of Balcarres pub, turn right at traffic lights. Proceed down the hill turning left at next lights with Quality Hotel on corner. Follow ring road and get into second lane from right as road bears right into Caroline Street, sign-posted Orrell. Continue on ring road following road as it bears left passing the "Go Outdoors" shop on the left hand side again sign-posted for Orrell. Pass Wigan Pier on right and as the road goes under the railway bridge get into right hand lane to turn right into Robin Park Road Sign-posted for Robin Park. Follow signs for DW Stadium. (Visiting Directors & Match Officials only, take second right into Anjou Boulevard for main entrance).From the East:
The DW Stadium has 2000 car parking spaces located around the stadium. Please refrain from using the Robin Retail Park, cinema, Asda and B+Q car parks as these are not official car parks. Supporters who use these car parks are at risk of being clamped and fined.
Wigan is served by two railway stations (almost opposite each other on Wallgate in Wigan), Wigan Northern Western and Wigan Wallgate.
Wigan North Western is on the West coast main line with links to Liverpool while Wigan Wallgate is used for regional services to Manchester, Southport and Liverpool (via Kirkby).
Taxis are available from outside Wigan North Western station which approximate 1.4 miles away from the DW Stadium. A taxi to the DW Stadium should cost approximately £5 from Wigan North Western station.