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NO SURPRISES

Posted on 17 February 2006  - 12:00

Michael Dawson agrees that Wigan stopped being the surprise package of the Premiership about 10 games into the season.

Michael Dawson agrees that Wigan stopped being the surprise package of the Premiership about 10 games into the season.

Last season's promoted champions from the Championship made a storming start with a run of eight wins in nine between August 27 and October 29.

Perhaps even more impressive, Paul Jewell's men then recovered from a run of defeats against Arsenal, ourselves, Liverpool, Chelsea and United to reel off another four straight wins to set their season back on course.

They have maintained their form since then and the dream continued when they toppled Arsenal over two legs to reach the final of the Carling Cup - they face Manchester United in Cardiff next weekend.

The Latics arrive at the Lane on Sunday (kick-off 1.15pm) in ninth place and still very much in the running for a top six finish.

Michael said: "They way they came back from the run of defeats shows the quality at the club and underlines how they are prepared to fight for each other.

"Even though we won, it was a very tough match up at Wigan in November and they refused to lie down that day, even when we went 2-0 up late on.

"They have kept up their form throughout the season and we know it will be a similar story on Sunday."

Michael suggested that Wigan's opening match against champions Chelsea laid the foundations and underlined that they would be no pushovers in their first season in the top flight.

"Before they kicked a ball everyone was writing them off but they showed in the first game of the season against Chelsea what they were all about," he added.

"They were unlucky not to get a draw that day and that must have given them confidence. They've maintained that belief and credit to them."