Redemption: Wigan have chance to ‘put things right’ after Blackpool loss with victory in Europe, says Roger Espinoza

By Colin Rhodes

Wigan midfielder Roger Espinoza is calling on his teammates to redeem last weekend’s defeat by picking up a victory against Rubin Kazan in the Europa League at the DW Stadium tonight.

The Honduran is hoping to make his Europa League debut against the Russian Premier League side and help his team to another crucial win in the competition.

The Latics suffered a disappointing 1-0 away defeat at Blackpool on Saturday and Espinoza is glad to have a chance to put things right so quickly.

“That’s the best thing about football, sometimes games don’t go the way you want them to, but there is always another opportunity to put things right,” he said.

“We want to redeem ourselves on Thursday, but we know that we’re playing a very strong side.”

Rubin Kazan top Group D, with a staggering nine goals in two games after emphatic victories over NK Maribor and Zulte Waregem.

However, Espinoza isn’t fazed by their opponent’s impressive records and believe that Wigan can match the Russians all the way.

“I think we can do well in the game and we need to do well because a result can help us to build our confidence back up,” he said.

“If we can get a result on Thursday against Rubin Kazan then it sets us up well for the next match in the group and it would leave us in a very good position.

“We’ve won the two games following our Europa League fixtures and the competition has given us a lot of confidence.

“It has worked well for us because we’ve come away from the games with a great feeling and then by the time the next game has come around we haven’t had much time to think, so we’re still in the mind set of winning.”

Wigan have made an impressive start to their first ever European campaign and sit second in the group. They drew 0-0 against Zulte Waregem in their opening match before beating Maribor 3-1 at the DW three weeks ago.

Boss Owen Coyle is in no doubt about the task facing his team tonight.

“Rubin are a fantastic side and favourites for the group but we have an opportunity to go above them tomorrow night, and if we play to our level we certainly believe we can win the game.

“We are under no illusions about how difficult it will be. This is a quality side. They have a tremendous European pedigree.

“But this is an exciting time for everyone at Wigan Athletic. The fans have really embraced the competition, we have and we want to progress and qualify.”

Latics will be without midfielder Shaun Maloney for tonight’s game. The Scotland international will be out for a further three months after being told he needs hip surgery.

Defender Stephen Crainey could return after four games out with a neck injury, while striker Grant Holt is in line to make his European debut after a recovering from a knee injury.

Kick-off at the DW Stadium is at 8.05pm.

Image courtesy of Press Bureau via YouTube, with thanks

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