UEFA Europa League Preview: Wigan Athletic v Rubin Kazan
By Football News
Wigan Athletic will look to leapfrog Rubin Kazan in Group D when the two sides square off in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday.
The fixture at the DW Stadium on Thursday sees Wigan head into the match trailing their Russian opponents by two points, but they could move to the top of the pool if they are able to make the most of home advantage.
Owen Coyle's charges have had a solid start to their first ever European campaign, with a 0-0 draw away to Zulte Waregem being followed with a convincing 3-1 triumph at home to Maribor.
The Europa League has provided a welcome relief from their indifferent league form, as Wigan sit 13th in the Championship having lost three of their last five matches.
Their latest setback came in a 1-0 defeat away at Blackpool on Saturday, with Thomas Ince notching the only goal of the game from the penalty spot in the first half.
And goalkeeper Scott Carson admits the side have to address their inconsistency, but is happy to have the chance to bounce straight back against Rubin.
"The positive for us is that we've got another game on Thursday, albeit in a different competition, but it means we can go again and try and rebuild our confidence," he told the club's official website.
"We've got to be confident in ourselves, that's been a problem and we need to sort it out.
"There's real quality in this team there's no doubt about that, I just think we need to express ourselves a bit more."
Striker Grant Holt returned from a knee injury off the bench against Blackpool and could come into contention for a starting spot, but Shaun Maloney (back), Ivan Ramis (knee), Gary Caldwell and Ali Al Habsi (both hip) remain long-term absentees.
They face a difficult challenge against Kurban Berdyev's charges, with Rubin winning both of their Group D fixtures so far and socring nine goals in the process.
A 5-2 rout in their opener away at Maribor was followed by a 4-0 home-demolition of Zulte Waregem.
But they too have had an inauspicious start to their domestic campaign, taking just 16 points from 13 matches in the Russian Premier League.
Berdyev will look for a swift response to his side's 2-1 setback away to Volga on Saturday, when Alexander Prudnikov's injury-time strike proved no more than a consolation.
Influential striker Jose Rondon remains sidelined with a fractured metatarsal, but Berdyev has no fresh injury concerns ahead of Thursday's fixture.