Happy New Year everyone!
Hopefully it will be a good one at the JJB as we prepare to entertain Tottenham at the weekend.
We enter the game in a rich vein of form having won the last 5 out of 6 games in the league, with our only defeat coming down at the Emirates Stadium against Arsenal and the reason for our recent success is down to the hard work of the team.
Lee Cattermole has been inspirational in midfield, he offers the team the gritty ankle chopping performances we have always required. This guy has the ability to be massive if he keeps a lid on his temper and I wouldn't be surprised to see him in the England top in the near future.
Another reason for our success is Antonio Valencia. I remember Jack Charlton commenting on Bobby Charlton's career and he recalled that Matt Busby used to say 'Just give the ball to Bobby.' I can just see Steve Bruce in the changing rooms before the game saying a similar thing about Valencia.
Three words that don't belong in the same sentence are Wigan and cup run. The last time we had a good cup run was in our debut season in the Premier League, we got all the way to Cardiff and lost to Manchester United in the Carling Cup Final.
The cup offers a great day out for the fans and players alike, however I feel the price tag for staying in the Premiership is so great teams have now changed there focus towards the League. I can totally understand this but I do wish it wasn't so.
Given the choice of getting to Wembley or been in the Premiership next season, there are no prizes for guessing my choice!
All good things come to an end and even the most optimistic of football fans realise this. I am however very confident our good run will not end this weekend.
We dominated the FA Cup tie in midweek up until the goal and then that changed everything. What we were missing apart from 8 first team regulars was the strength to hold the ball up in attack.
We have become accustomed to Heskey holding the ball up and drawing the play forward, without this Wigan will struggle to impact on any side in the Premiership.
If we do have the influential Heskey and Zaki back I predict a comfortable 3-1 win. I am however keeping one eye on Defoe as we all know what damage strikers can make with a point to prove.