We're delighted to welcome Kieran Heapy from Wigan site Pie Eaters Footie back to Fan Focus as we look ahead to the weekend's game. People say that the league table doesn't lie, so it's not looking great at the moment for the Lactics, but does their position tell the full story? Let's find out...
The last time we talked, you were happy enough with results, but not with performances. With Wigan flirting with the relegation places, does the same still apply?
Kieran Heapy: It is the flip at the moment. When we last talked, way back in September, we had won one, drawn one and lost three against Manchester United, Chelsea and our bogey team Fulham. So really there wasn't much more we could expect, going into the game, we were hoping for some points, but I wasn't confident.
Yet much like last season, we have had a good uptake in performance but results haven't picked up with them. There have been games we should have won yet we just can't score goals. We are playing the Martinez way but we take it too far. We try to walk to ball into the net and none will have a shot. So we are performing well, yet we aren't scoring so the results aren't going our way.
Sunderland have been busy so far in the transfer window. Are you expecting any deals in or out at the DW this month?
KH: Well we already have two in. Roger Espinoza and Angelo Henriquez were Roberto Martinez's top two targets so getting them in quickly was important. Both of them will be very important in the second half of the forth coming season. As to anymore people coming or going, I don't see anyone going out. We are going to hold firm till the summer over any player, we did this last season and it paid to do so keeping us in the league, and now it is time to do it again.
And, if you could have your way, who would you (realistically) be looking at bringing in?
KH: We need at least another three players, a striker; defender and a winger. We have been linked with many different players and its hard to say who Martinez is looking at. Personally I would like the club to bring in an experienced striker, maybe not someone who can score a hat-full but someone who can add experience up front. While the same could be said for a winger. As for a defender we need someone young who we can develop and bring into the team.
One player mentioned is young John Stones from Barnsley. If we are looking at him then I would really like to see him join the club.
It could be said that we were fortunate to beat you at the Stadium of Light, as Gomez's red card was harsh to say the least. How do you think that game would have finished if it had stayed 11v11?
KH: A draw would have been a fair result on the day. I don't feel Lactics were at their best, nor were you. It was looking very much like a game destined for a draw. Once we went down to ten men you had that extra yard of space and managed to exploit it getting your goal before shutting up shop. There was nothing we could do once you had done that.
Kone will be away for this game at the African Cup of Nations. How big of a miss is he going to be for you?
KH: Massive, he has been one of our best players of the season. He gives us something none else does in our squad, a sort of directness in his play that he can just beat three players through speed and power and manage to either set someone up or get on the end of someone's cross to score. He has been the heart of many of our goals this season, and hopefully he can come back form the African Cup of Nations unharmed and ready to get back into the team.
With Ramis also missing the game through injury, should Sunderland be hoping to take advantage of playing a weakened team at the weekend?
KH: I wouldn't necessarily say weakened It is likely that Ronnie Stamm will come in for him and allow Emmerson Boyce to go into the center of the defence. That won't affect our side, in the way it deals with teams defensively. Yet going forward we are likely to struggle. At the weakened David Jones came into the midfield and Shaun Maloney was pushed up to play behind Franco Di Santo.
It worked quite well, but in the long scheme of things will it do Wigan any good? I can only see it hindering us as we need Maloney to create chances not be on the end of them, as none else creates them.
So defensively we will be the same as ever, going forward we could have less of a punch.
Sunderland are hitting some semblance of form recently, who in our ranks do you not fancy coming up against?
KH: Well there is your Scottish striker who just seems to love scoring, then to me two of the best young wingers in the country in Adam Johnson and James McLean, all back up with Stephane Sessengnon. So which one would you like me to pick on? All four of them I would happily take of your hands to boost the Wigan ranks as they all can do damage whoever the opposition is. Sessengnon can create the chances, Johnson and McLean can deliver them and then Fletcher finishes them. All four could really hurt Wigan in the game.
To ask you your own question, what's your favourite type of pie?
KH: Any thing which is warm and has pastry. Its hard to say as I do like a lot! If I am going for a savory pie then a love a meat and potatoe. Yet if you want a nice sweet one, then you can't beat a good apple and rhubarb pie!
And can I ask you for a prediction?
KH: Tight game I feel, and the fans will be urging the Wigan side for a win. I think it could be the reversal of the fixture early in the season. So 1-0 to the Latics.
Big thanks go to Kieran for taking the time to talk to us. Go and check out his site now, it's very good for all of your Wigan needs.