Wigan and Preston staring into the abyss

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Preston North End find themselves in deep trouble at the foot of the Championship, with a cavernous 13 point gap separating them from safety. Preston’s home form must improve rapidly, after consecutive 2-1 defeats in their latest games at Deepdale. Whilst Phil Brown will no doubt be frustrated with his side’s inability to secure three points, he must have taken heart from a battling 1-1 draw away at Norwich, with Chris Brown netting on his return. In an effort to reinvigorate North End’s beleaguered squad, Ricardo Gardner has been brought in on loan from Bolton.

Wigan are also facing an uncertain future having slumped to twentieth place in the Premier League table. In what was admittedly a tricky pair of fixtures, the Latics were defeated by both Manchester clubs; first they were thumped by United, before narrowly losing out to City at Eastlands. However, on both occasions Wigan may have felt hard done by; with Wayne Rooney inexplicably getting away with a blatant elbow on James McCarthy and David Silva’s winner coming in scrappy fashion.

Blackpool still occupy a lower mid-table position in the Premier League, but with a mere four point cushion to safety, Ian Holloway will be acutely aware that his side have work to do to ensure a second consecutive season of top-flight football. This concern has been exacerbated by two straight defeats, the most damaging of which came in a 4-0 hammering by Wolves. The Tangerines latest game saw defending champions Chelsea visit Bloomfield Road and escape with a relatively assured 3-1 victory.

In contrast to their neighbours, Morecambe have begun to pull clear of relegation trouble and now sit nine points above twenty-third place. Their mini revival was kick-started with a surprise 2-0 win over league leaders Chesterfield, thanks to goals from loanees James Spencer and Kevan Hurst. Sammy McIlroy’s men were able to build on this result with a 2-1 home win against Southend, before slipping to a 1-0 loss against resurgent Bury last time out.

Lancaster City also find themselves well clear of any relegation threat, however the Dolly Blues have hit a patch of indifferent form recently. The high point of the last two weeks came in a 4-1 home win against Harrogate Railway, Max Rothwell the star performer with a first half double. However Lancaster have since drawn twice and slipped to a disappointing 2-0 home defeat to Curzon Ashton, a side they thrashed in the Presidents cup a couple of weeks previously.

Fleetwood town remain the regions highest placed side, with the Cod Army poised just outside the play-off positions in the Blue Square Premier league. Despite their lofty league position, Fleetwood have lost two of their last three games, with the most disappointing result being a 1-0 loss to Eastbourne Borough. This was followed by a 4-0 mauling at the hands of Darlington. However, last Saturday Fleetwood showed their resilience once more in a dominant display which saw them beat one time play-off rivals Newport County 3-1.

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