Wigan Athletic are set to be under plenty of pressure on Saturday afternoon, when they host Reading at the DW Stadium.
The Latics’ 2-2 draw away at Millwall in midweek, combined with results elsewhere in the Championship, means that they go into the clash with the Royals inside the Championship relegation zone, and potentially needing a win to get out of it again.
Reading however are unlikely to be an easy challenge for Paul Cook’s side. The Royals are coming off the back of consecutive defeats to Brentford and Leeds – their first losses since the appointment of Mark Bowen as manager – and will surely see this as an opportunity to bounce back quickly.
With that in mind, we’ve taken a look at the starting lineup manager Paul Cook could name to give his Wigan side the best possible chance of picking up a positive result from this game.
Having employed a 4-4-2 formation in the draw at Millwall in midweek, we imagine Cook will once again go with that system on Saturday.
In goal, David Marshall ought to continue his run of starting every league game for the Latics this season on Saturday.
Ahead of him, Antonee Robinson should continue at left-back after scoring his first senior goal on Tuesday, while the central defensive partnership of Charlie Mulgrew and Chey Dunkley does seem to have been one of the high points for Wigan this season.
One change that could be worth considering at right-back, where Nathan Byrne could come into replace Dujon Sterling, after the Chelsea loanee appeared to struggle to make an impact in The Den.
After returning to the starting lineup with a goal in midweek, Anthony Pilkington should once again start this weekend.
With Cook confirming that captain Sam Morsy and Lewis Maclead are the club’s only fit central midfielders at the minute, those two positions seemingly pick themselves, and you would expect Jamal Lowe to complete the midfield four for the Latics.
Upfront, we think that 17-year-old Joe Gelhardt should be given a chance from the start for the Latics for the first time in his career against Reading in place of Joe Garner, who has yet to score this season.
Gelhardt returned to the matchday squad against Millwall after a head injury, and would surely give the Latics an added attacking impetus. Indeed, you feel that the teenager could fare well playing off Kieffer Moore, with the Welshman having impressed with his ability to the ball up at the right end of the pitch for both club and country over the course of the past few weeks.