Wigan welcome Birmingham to the DW Stadium on Saturday with the battle for English Premier League survival on in earnest.
Roberto Martinez’s Wigan side have won just one of their past 11 league games to sit bottom of the table on 27 points.
Birmingham’s record is not much better, and although Alex McLeish’s side won the season’s first piece of silverware with a 2-1 win over Arsenal in last month’s Carling Cup final, some dire league form sees them fourth from the bottom with 31 points.
Since wins against West Ham and Stoke in February, McLeish’s men have lost back-to-back home games against Newcastle and West Ham before their 1-1 draw at Everton on March 9, leaving only goal difference keeping them clear of the drop zone.
In their most recent outing they suffered a heartbreaking 3-2 FA Cup quarter-final loss to Bolton at St Andrew’s on Saturday.
In fairness to McLeish, Birmingham’s recent poor form is in direct correlation with the length of the club’s injury list.
The Scot was without captain Stephen Carr, Lee Bowyer, winger David Bentley, midfielder Keith Fahey, defender Liam Ridgewell and strikers Craig Gardner and Nikola Zigic for the Bolton match.
Midfielder Barry Ferguson and defender Martin Jiranek were forced off with injuries during the game, but with treatment both men will press their cases for selection on Saturday, while Zigic is also expected to be fit.
Martinez, by contrast, has almost a full squad to choose from for the crunch game, with only defender Emmerson Boyce under a fitness cloud with a hamstring injury.