Wigan v Aston Villa

Last updated : 24 January 2011 By BBC Sport

New Aston Villa signing Jean Makoun will be included in the squad for the first time.

Emile Heskey returns against his former club after completing a ban, while Kyle Walker hopes to overcome a back injury.


Suspended: G Caldwell (one match) Doubtful: Moses (shoulder)

Injured: Cleverley (hamstring)

Aston Villa

Doubtful: Walker (back) Injured: Delph & Ireland (both knee)


Aston Villa needed only 18 minutes of Saturday's match with Manchester City to witness what an impact Darren Bent could have at the club when he pounced to score the kind of goal that convinced them to spend £24m for his services.

I came to this club because of the service and creativity they have. When you play with these players week in, week out it must feel like Christmas. The ball is in the opposition box every couple of minutes

Aston Villa striker Darren Bent

Manager Gerard Houllier looked like the cat that had got the cream at the final whistle as he marvelled at the impression Bent had made and three points that could go a long way to helping the club avoid relegation.

As good as Bent's display was, the rock-solid performances of centre-backs James Collins and Richard Dunne deserved the biggest plaudits, as they helped Villa keep their first clean sheet since October.

With a new-found buzz around the club, they now travel to the DW Stadium having put a three-point gap between themselves and opponents Wigan. The Latics sit third bottom and come into this match following a demoralising defeat against Arsenal, in which only the performance of goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi kept the scoreline down to a respectable 3-0.

While boss Roberto Martinez talks of his side still being in a transitional period, he needs an urgent improvement on their record of only one win in the last 10 games, otherwise the club will face a further unwanted transition - from being a Premier League outfit into a Championship one.



• None of the last eight Premier League games between Villa and Wigan has ended as a home win.

• Villa have won their last three away games against Wigan.

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• Wigan have only won one of their last eight league fixtures (W1, D5, L2).

• The Latics have the weakest attack in the division, scoring 19 goals in 23 games.

• Hugo Rodallega has scored 19 Premier League goals for Wigan, one short of Henri Camara's club record of 20.

Aston Villa

• Aston Villa have only won two of their last 11 league matches.

• They have taken just six points from 11 away matches - only Wolves have fared worse.

• Gerard Houllier's side kept a clean sheet for the first time in 13 attempts in the 1-0 win over Manchester City on Saturday.

• Villa have dropped 14 points from winning positions in the league this season.



Rodallega: 6 goals (6 league); N'Zogbia: 4 goals (3 league)

Aston Villa

Bent: 12 goals* (9 league); Downing: 6 goals (5 league); Heskey: 6 goals (3 league)

* Bent scored 11 goals (8 league) for Sunderland


Referee: Jon Moss

Assistant referees: Andy Halliday & Trevor Massey

Fourth official: Phil Dowd


Wigan (L0-3 v Arsenal, a): Al Habsi; Gohouri, G Caldwell, S Caldwell, Figueroa, Stam (McArthur 46), Diame (Di Santo 46), Watson, Thomas, N'Zogbia (Boyce 78), Rodallega. Subs not used: Pollitt, McCarthy, Gomez, McManaman.

Aston Villa (W1-0 v Man City, h): Friedel; Cuellar, Collins, Dunne, Clark, Albrighton, Petrov (Reo-Coker 88), Downing, Agbonlahor, A Young, Bent. Subs not used: Marshall, Pires, Delfouneso, Bannan, Herd, Baker.

Source: BBC Sport

Source: BBC Sport