AS someone likely to pride himself on his knowledge of the history of Middlesbrough FC, head coach Jonathan Woodgate will be fully aware of the significance of Wigan in club folklore.
The Latics provided the opposition at Boro’s former Ayresome Park home for a special promotion clinching party from the old Division Three in May 1987, a cathartic sporting moment for Teesside after the club’s near-oblivion less than a year before.
In that same campaign, a maiden league win for a team forever revered in the hearts of Boro followers arrived at Wigan’s old Springfield Park base and how Woodgate could do with his own redemptive moment against the Latics tonight.
Four games into his Riverside tenure, Woodgate is still awaiting his first win and a failure to secure a relieving three points against either Wigan or weekend visitors Millwall will constitute an early-season drama.
Thankfully, patience is not in short supply among the Riverside hierarchy, with the season always destined to be one of transition – for the time being at any rate.
Boro face a Wigan side who have lost their last three games in all competitions and a positive result first, as opposed to performance, will be at the forefront of the minds of Woodgate and his opposition number Paul Cook.
Woodgate said: “It is important we move on against Wigan. You need to win the battle, this league is not easy, then you start to play.”
Last six games: Middlesbrough WWDLDL; Wigan DWWLLL.
Referee: K Stroud (Hants).
Last time: Middlesbrough 2 Wigan 0, November 10, 2018; Championship.