Opposing View: Wigan Athletic
What were your hopes, fears & expectations for the season?
Following the way we ended the last campaign I hoped we would go on to have a rousing season this time round, not quite happened yet for various reasons, we are definitely missing the outlet that Moses provided but I`m sure it`ll all come good sooner rather than later.
I`d expect us to steer well clear of the relegation zone this year, have a bit of a cup run, which we are having at the moment, I can see us finishing the season just below mid table, possibly 12th.
Big fear though that it all goes horribly wrong, but I won`t dwell on that!
How relieved were you that Brendan Rodgers ended up getting the Liverpool job?
I think Roberto Martinez is more relieved than me!
Seriously though it became apparent quickly that Martinez wasn`t going to take the Liverpool job, and, regardless of what you may have heard he did turn them down, but for a couple of days it was a bit nervy.
Martinez also spoke with two other clubs in the summer, believed to be Villa and Spurs, but he said he has work to finish with us, I hope he stays for the long run. Superb manager.
Franco Di Santo looks like a striker all of a sudden - what's changed there?!
A lot of people don`t realise that Franco is only 22. He`s still a young lad learning his trad; he is simply coming of age, always had the talent but also had the exuberance of youth that often saw him make the wrong choice on the field. He`s settled more now and with the confidence shown in him by Martinez he is realising his potential.
Franco will be a big star over the next few years, possibly not on Saturday though, he`s doubtful with a calf injury.
Will this season be the usual mad rush at the end of the campaign, or has Martinez struck on something with the 3-4-1-2?
As previously mentioned I can`t see us being in any serious trouble this time round, he has got us playing well and as the man himself is always saying 'don`t get stuck on formations`. We play a very fluid style and the supporters can`t always keep up with the system during the game, he switches it around so much, for the final 10 minutes last Saturday against Fulham we only had two defender on the pitch, I had no idea what formation we were playing then!
Who will be the key man on Saturday?
Shaun Maloney is the one that makes us tick, great playmaker and links the midfield with the strikers perfectly.
One player you'd drive to his next club & why?
Very happy with all the squad to be honest, Martinez has got rid of all the deadwood and malingerers, lots of youth knocking on the door keeping the senior players on their toes, so quite happy at the moment.
One Sunderland player you'd sign & why?
I like James McLean and I believe it was between you and us when he came over from Ireland, but Stephen Fletcher is the player I`d take, because he can`t stop scoring, and you can`t win games without goals.
How will you line up on Saturday?
At kick-off it will be the 3-2-2-1-2 that we`ve now morphed into, back three, two central midfielders, two wing backs, Maloney in behind two strikers, definitely Koné either Boselli or Di Santo dependent upon Franco`s injury.
We have a couple of injury concerns so not too sure of personnel.
Head says 1-1, but as we always do well up at your place, my heart says a sneaky 2-1 away win.
Cheers Worbo! A 'sneaky` win at the SOL last season spelt the end for Steve Bruce, no such luck this time for the Latics hopefully!
Vital Wigan produce an excellent podcast which you can reach by CLICKING HERE. Sunderland fans, skip to 24:50 for a preview of Saturday's clash!