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Not since October 26 had top-two chasing Wigan suffered a third-tier defeat on home soil, but exactly four months later, Sunderland ran riot at the DW Stadium in a painful watch for Leam Richardson and his coaching staff.

Bailey Wright propelled the Black Cats into the ascendancy within the first two minutes of the contest before a pair of Ross Stewart penalties extinguished any hopes of a Latics comeback, with Richardson bemoaning a “frustrating” afternoon at full time.

However, Wigan’s Championship destiny is still very much in their own hands, as this week’s hosts remain second in the rankings – nine points off runaway leaders Rotherham United with two games hand and level with third-placed MK Dons having played three fewer matches.

Failure to take advantage of their games in hand could certainly spell trouble for Wigan’s automatic promotion prospects, but the Latics had won five out of their seven last League One fixtures at home before the Sunderland humbling and surely cannot envisage another dismal outing on their own soil.

Fleetwood certainly lived up to their name of stalemate specialists during their trip to Fratton Park, but frustration was etched across the face of Stephen Crainey after his side let a three-goal lead slip to only take a point back to base.

Anthony PilkingtonHarrison Biggins and Patrick Lane had seemingly put the tie to bed for Fleetwood, but a Ronan Curtis penalty on the stroke of half time gave Pompey hope before Marcus Harness reduced the deficit further, and Aiden O’Brien would complete the comeback deep into second-half injury time.

Crainey voiced his disapproval at the “soft” penalty decision in the 3-3 thriller, but that point could yet prove crucial in Fleetwood’s bid to avoid the trapdoor to League Two, as the Cod Army arrive in Wigan down in 19th and two points clear of the drop zone.

Five of Fleetwood’s last six third-tier encounters have now ended level – while no clean sheets in seven may also be of concern to Crainey – especially seeing as Wigan breached the Cod Army’s defence three times in a pulsating 3-2 win earlier in the season.

Wigan lynchpin Jordan Cousins is still a number of weeks away from making his return from a thigh issue, while Tom Pearce and Scott Smith also remain out of action.

Nineteen-year-old Thelo Aasgaard is also set to miss the remainder of the season with his stress fracture, and Richardson will naturally ponder some alterations after Saturday’s miserable showing.

Josh Magennis‘s place could potentially be at risk after his 60-minute substitution against Sunderland, with Stephen Humphrys vying for a start in the number nine position.

As for Fleetwood, Pilkington had to be withdrawn in the 23rd minute against Portsmouth after opening the scoring due to a knock, with Daniel Butterworth primed to take his place in attack.

Joe Garner was able to play the final few minutes of the 3-3 draw, but a hefty injury list includes Josh HarropBrad HallidayDarnell JohnsonDaniel BattyHarrison HolgateJordan Rossiter and Ged Garner.

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Right-back Callum Johnson will also make his return after being ineligible to face his parent club, so Carl Johnston may have to accept a place among the substitutes.

Wigan Athletic possible starting lineup:
Amos; Darikwa, Whatmough, Tilt, Bennett; Shinnie, Power; Lang, Keane, McClean; Humphrys

Fleetwood Town possible starting lineup:
Cairns; Johnson, Nsiala, Clarke, Jules, Andrew; Lane, Camps, Biggins; Butterworth, Harrison

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