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Wigan Athletic-Wolverhampton Preview
By SANTOSH VENKATARAMAN
(AP) -- LONDON (SE) - A relegation six-pointer is set for Sunday afternoon at the Molineux, with Mick McCarthy's Wolverhampton winless in eight matches while basement club Wigan Athletic have lost seven Premier League games on the trot.
McCarthy is insisting his stuttering side can kick-start a return to form Sunday with a good result.
"We have to get back to winning ways and it doesn't matter about anyone else," McCarthy told Wolverhampton's official website. "It's not discounting Wigan at home and their role to play in it but this has to be the best opportunity for us."
Wolves are one spot above the drop zone, and have conceded 16 goals over their last seven fixtures.
That leaky defence will be facing a floundering Latics' attack that has produced a Premier League-low six goals. Rooted to the bottom of the table, Wigan have gone 230 minutes without a goal after last Saturday's 2-0 loss at the DW Stadium to Fulham.
"Mentally the players are desperate to get back on the pitch and produce a performance that will get us that elusive win and repay the efforts and endeavours of the squad," boss Roberto Martinez told Wigan's official website.
Martinez's side have received a boost on the status of midfielder Mohamed Diame, who was replaced after 13 minutes against Fulham due to a nasty ankle injury. Diame may return to training this week.
"The damage he did suffer in the ankle ligaments has recovered very well and we hope that he'll resume training with the group before Sunday and he's got a chance of making the team," Martinez said.
The Latics will have to replace suspended captain Gary Caldwell, who received his fifth booking last weekend. Caldwell has played the full 90 minutes in every match.
Martinez has also been forced to alter his match preparations since Wigan are playing on a Sunday for the first time.
"All our fixtures in the league so far this season have been on Saturday at 3.00 pm, so when you're handed a different schedule it's important you mix-up the week and use the fact that you have more preparation time to your advantage," he said.
Striker Hugo Rodallega has yet to find the target, but will be relishing the chance to duplicate his efforts against Wolves from last season. Rodallega scored in both fixtures as Wigan won twice.
Latics midfielder David Jones, meanwhile, will mark his return to the Molineux. Jones joined Wigan on a free transfer after spending the previous four years with Wolves.
McCarthy has backed Wayne Hennessey after the goalkeeper's calamitous error led to Manchester City's opener in a 3-1 loss last Saturday at the Etihad Stadium. Hennessey has vowed to bounce back from the gaffe.
"I can't let it affect me because I thought I played well and was feeling good with the saves I'd made in the first half," Hennessey said.
The Wolves' other league fixtures this month are trips to Goodison Park and Stamford Bridge. McCarthy is tipping Sunday to mark a recovery point for his side.
"We just need that feeling of winning games because we haven't had it for a while," McCarthy said.
Updated November 4, 2011