Preview: Oxford United vs. Wigan Athletic – prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Tuesday’s League One clash between Oxford United and Wigan Athletic, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Oxford United and Wigan Athletic square off in League One at the Kassam Stadium on Tuesday night.

The hosts are currently fighting to make the playoff places while the visitors are focused firmly on moving further clear of the relegation zone rather than a late playoff bid.

Match preview

© Reuters

Oxford United are looking to make a return to the top six, after a disappointing run saw them drop out.

Two away victories over Charlton Athletic and Carlisle United at the beginning of January put them in a strong position with 49 points on the board from 26 League One matches, but they have failed to build on those triumphs since.

Des Buckingham‘s side have added just three more points to their tally in the last five matches, with three consecutive draws heading into this fixture, the last of which was a 1-1 draw against Blackpool on Saturday.

The match started off badly for Oxford as Matthew Pennington put Blackpool ahead in the 18th minute but Mark Harris quickly restored parity for the U’s three minutes later.

Now sitting just outside the top six amidst a five-match winless streak, Oxford will now bid to return to winning ways against Wigan on Tuesday, an opposition they have failed to beat in the last three attempts.

The comfort of Kassam Stadium has also not helped Buckingham’s side recently, as they have failed to win in their last four home games, losing and drawing two each.

Wigan started the season with a points deduction, which meant they had to be almost faultless in the second half of the season to make the playoffs.

The Latics showed fighting spirit, collecting nine points against Reading, Wycombe Wanderers and Peterborough United in recent weeks, but a 2-1 home loss to Exeter City last time out raises questions about their credentials to go all the way to the playoff zone.

Wigan were pegged back early on after Mohamed Eisa‘s 10th minute goal, and it got worse when Jack Aitchison added a second for Exeter in the second half. Charlie Kelman pulled one back but Shaun Maloney‘s side could not find the second to give them anything from the game.

The side from Greater Manchester are now a massive 16 points behind sixth position, making it necessary to focus on avoiding relegation later in the season.

Just six points separate Wigan to 21st position and Maloney will be eager to overcome the challenge of one of their mid-table rivals in order to create further distance between themselves and the bottom four.

Oxford United League One form:

Wigan Athletic League One form:

Wigan Athletic form (all competitions):

Team News

Wigan Athletic's Jordan Jones reacts on January 8, 2024© Reuters

Oxford United made some changes to their starting XI last time out with Jamie Cumming returning between the sticks.

While there might be changes elsewhere we expect the attack to remain untouched from the trip to Blackpool.

Harris will continue to lead the line, having netted seven goals in his last nine appearances to take his tally to 13 for the season, with Ruben Rodrigues again set to join him while Tyler Burey and Tyler Goodrham will offer further threat from the wings.

For Wigan, Matt Smith is available for selection after serving a one-match ban but Steven Sessegnon is still recovering from a muscle injury.

Luke Chambers is expected to feature in a back three alongside Charlie Goode and Charlie Hughes.

Oxford United possible starting lineup:
Cumming; Negru, Moore, Brown, Leigh; Burey, McGuane, Brannagan, Goodrham; Rodrigues, Harris

Wigan Athletic possible starting lineup:
Tickle; Hughes, Goode, Chambers; Clare, S. Smith, Adeeko, Jones; Godo, Aasgaard; Magnennis

SM words green background

We say: Oxford United 2-1 Wigan Athletic

With stakes growing in the battle for playoff places in League One, Oxford United know that they cannot afford a lot of slip ups. The hosts should edge this match but we expect the visitors to put up a good fight.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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