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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Nov 2, 2007

Hutchings ignores sack race ahead of Chelsea clash

Wigan manager Chris Hutchings insists he is not feeling the pressure as the Latics aim to halt a five-game losing streak at home to Chelsea.

Wigan's recent slump has seen them drop to 16th in the Premier League, just two points above the relegation zone.

While Wigan twice surrendered the lead to lose 3-2 at Birmingham last week, Chelsea hammered Manchester City 6-0 to revive their hopes of winning a third league title in four years, yet Hutchings is relishing the visit of the London club.

He said: 'I'm enjoying it. This is what it's all about. It's great to pit yourself against the best teams in the country, and in Europe even. You've got to go in and try to enjoy every game and learn from it.

'That's why we're here and everyone in the Championship would want to be where we are, that's for sure. It's another tough game but one both myself and the supporters are looking forward to.

'These are the games the fans want to come and see, and we've got to give them something to cheer about.

'Once you go three games without scoring, it's a little bit of a concern, but we got that monkey off our back at Birmingham and we've got to make sure we continue on Saturday.'

Manchester City's willingness to attack Chelsea proved to be their undoing last week as they were repeatedly exposed in defence.

Hutchings is wary of making the same mistake at the JJB Stadium, although the Latics will not be going out to contain the Blues.

Wigan have been unlucky to lose at home to Chelsea in the last two seasons, going down to late strikes by Hernan Crespo and Arjen Robben, so Hutchings knows all about the threat they pose.

'It's about attacking and defending as a unit,' he said. 'We won't go out just to defend because the quality of players they have all over the pitch, someone will unlock you sooner or later.

'The last couple of seasons have been heartbreaking for us, especially that first season we were up when Crespo scored in the 91st minute with a wonder goal.

'That's what they have, wonderful players of world-class ability who can produce when they need to produce, and we know we've got to be at our best to stop that.

'We saw last week that if you give Chelsea chances, they take them, so you've got to try to take the game to them but in a sensible manner. We know we can give them a good game, we've just got to make sure all our players play well on the day,' added Hutchings.

'We've got to make sure we don't give goals away as we did against Birmingham, which was sloppy. But when we get the ball we've got to play and be positive, and get balls and bodies in the box.'

Hutchings has an almost full strength squad to choose from with Mario Melchiot, Denny Landzaat, Antonio Valencia and Antoine Sibierski all available after being sidelined in recent weeks.

Emile Heskey (fractured metatarsal) is another key player Wigan have missed, but the England striker started jogging on Tuesday and could be in contention for next week's trip to face Tottenham.

Marcus Bent (stomach bug) is doubtful after missing training on Thursday, although Michael Brown has recovered from a thigh strain he suffered at Birmingham.

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