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Will Keane‘s goal midway through the first half on Saturday was enough for Wigan to see off their struggling visitors AFC Wimbledon.
Their opponents, who had not won for a remarkable 17 games, did have their moments against Leam Richardson‘s side, but recording all three points was the most important thing for the Latics at this stage of the season.
With Rotherham United lost at the weekend, it meant that Wigan closed the gap at the top of the table to just four points, and with two games in hand as well, it presents them with an excellent opportunity to strengthen their hold on an automatic promotion spot in their hopes of returning to the Championship.
That focus must be switched to the EFL Trophy for the time being however, with Tuesday’s visit of Sutton presenting Wigan with a huge chance of reaching the final at Wembley on April 3.
Following progression through the knockout stages against Accrington Stanley, Oldham Athletic and Arsenal Under-21s, and having avoided Rotherham in the draw, Richardson’s side will be expected to be competing for the trophy on the grand stage next month.
After putting their early-season struggles on home soil behind them, with four wins from their last five at the DW Stadium, Wigan will be confident in their chances after earning a favourable home tie on Tuesday too.
After seeing off bottom-of-the-table Scunthorpe United a week earlier, Sutton followed it up by comfortably dispatching Rochdale on Saturday, with Enzio Boldewijn netting a first-half brace before Joe Kizzi rounded off the win in the second 45.
Those back-to-back victories have seen Matt Gray‘s side climb to third in the League Two table, although with only three points separating them from Exeter City down in eighth, there remains plenty to do between now and the end of the season for United to achieve an incredible feat.
Like Wigan though, their focus must now switch from their promotion targets to their chances of reaching the EFL Trophy final at Wembley.
Drawing one of the two favourites for the competition away from home is far from ideal for the U’s, but after an incredible rise over the past couple of years, there is very little chance of Gray’s side lacking the confidence of pulling off a shock.
Wigan look like they will be without Luton Town loanee Glen Rea on Tuesday, after the midfielder was forced off with a serious looking knee injury at the weekend.
Captain Max Power was also forced off late on with a dislocated finger, so it remains to be seen whether he will be available to feature against Sutton.
The trio of James McClean, Tendayi Darikwa and Graeme Shinnie will be able to feature though, with their current respective suspensions only applying to Wigan’s League One matches.
Luke Robinson continues to remain out with an ankle injury however, as does central defender Jason Kerr.
As for the visitors, Kenny Davis is unlikely to be available for their trip to the DW Stadium, with the central midfielder limping off inside the opening 10 minutes on Saturday.
Harry Beautyman is the most likely option to deputise in the middle of the pitch, whilst 40-year-old Stuart Nelson could earn a chance in between the posts ahead of first-choice goalkeeper Dean Bouzanis.
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Will Randall, Ricky Korboa and Kylian Kouassi will be amongst those pushing for starts should Gray opt to rotate his starting 11.
Wigan Athletic possible starting lineup:
Jones; Power, Whatmough, Tilt, Darikwa; Bayliss, Naylor; Massey, Keane, McClean; Humphrys
Sutton United possible starting lineup:
Nelson; Kizzi, Goodliffe, John, Milsom; Ajiboye, Eastmond, Beautyman, Boldewijn; Bugiel, Bennett