Premier League preview: Aston Villa v Wigan Athletic
Paul Lambert has his work cut out trying to restore confidence in his Aston Villa side ahead of their clash with fellow strugglers Wigan.
Villa are in freefall and in danger of slipping into the relegation zone following two hefty defeats.
The Birmingham-based outfit were five-games unbeaten in the Premier League, a run that included a stunning 3-1 victory over Liverpool at Anfield.
But their youth and inexperience was there for all to see last Sunday as they suffered an 8-0 capitulation at Chelsea and they received no gifts over the Christmas period, falling to a comprehensive 4-0 defeat against Tottenham.
The demoralising results have seen them fall to within three points of the drop zone.
However, Lambert is remaining upbeat and confident his Villa players will not sink without a trace.
"They will be fine," he said.
"Whether we win, lose or draw… we always try to treat them the same way and try to keep their spirits the same.
"One thing in football is that you can't dwell on it and you have to bounce back. There is no other way."
They have a chance to bounce back at home to Wigan on Saturday but will need to improve in front of goal, having netted a paltry 15 goals, the lowest amount in the Premier League this season.
Wigan, themselves, are facing a crucial period in the next few weeks.
A 2-1 defeat at high-flying Everton on Boxing Day leaves Wigan winless in six games, and with a total of 15 points and has Roberto Martinez's men occupying the final relegation spot, one point adrift of safety.
But a win at Villa Park would propel the club out of danger and potentially up to 16th position, with games against Manchester United and Fulham in the coming weeks.