New Year can bring Wigan some cheer
English Premier League | Wigan v Newcastle betting preview
Alan Pardew might not have been the fans' choice to take the reins at Newcastle but he'll struggle to fare any worse in Wigan than past managers.
Call it the JJB or DW Stadium, it makes like difference to the Tynesiders, the results have been terrible ever since the two sides had their first league meeting in Lancashire in 2005.
Back in October 2005 a first half Jason Roberts strike was all it took for Wigan to take the points as Shearer and Owen failed to make a mark on John Filan's net - and the pattern since then hasn't changed.
The Latics went on to eject Newcastle from the League Cup later that season, again winning 1-0, and every other visit has ended in similar disappointment with the losing streak now running to five matches.
It's a tough streak for Pardew to crack and one made even tougher following losses to Man City and Tottenham - the first game high of beating Liverpool must feel a long time ago for Ashley's man.
They may have to do without talismanic striker Andy Carroll as well after the big man broke down with a thigh injury last week, a particular worry since goal threats have been few and far between in recent games.
If the youngster can't make it then the likes of Kevin Nolan and Shola Ameobi will have to work extra hard up front and they could be rewarded given Wigan's shocking defensive record at home.
Roberto Martinez's men have conceded a league high 19 goals in their 10 home games, replying with just 10 of their own, however they are showing signs of improvement.
They're currently unbeaten in four, drawing three and winning one but two of those draws have come against Everton and Arsenal, so any questions about any easy run can be quickly dismissed.
Tom Cleverly has taken a while to get to grips with premier League life but it seems the Man Utd loanee is a future star and has managed three in his last five - he also looks a great bet at 10/3 to score at any point in this one.
Charles N'Zogbia's drive and creativity will be missed with the Frenchman starting his three game suspension but Ben Watson (11/2 anytime scorer) has been looking dangerous from midfield and Hugo Rodallega (5/1 first goalscorer) is a constant thorn for defenders.
It'll be interesting to see if Pardew gives Nile Ranger a run out if Carroll can't make it.
The academy product has bags of pace and energy and will be a handful even if he's quite the finished article just yet - if he starts then he could be massive value at 15/8 to score anytime.
In terms of the match though I can't see anything but a Wigan win - priced at 11/8.
Until Pardew can prove he has the ability to be a success in a Premier League hotseat then away days at the likes of Wigan make backing the Geordies an impossibility, especially at 2/1.