They’re five points off the pace, but Wigan Athletic can avoid the drop

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They’re the lowest scoring side in the Championship right now, and five points from safety. But Wigan Athletic are by no means a shoo-in for relegation this campaign. And their business in the January transfer window points towards a comfortable finish come May.

It’s time to look at the positives for Warren Joyce’s men, and right now there are plenty…

For starters, they’ve got a game in hand over Burton Albion, who are five points ahead of them in the table as things stand. Win that, and things will start to look very interesting at the bottom.

You’d probably say the cut-off point for teams in this relegation scrap is Bristol City, who are just behind Wolverhampton Wanderers and Queens Park Rangers. That pair have had a season to forget, but we’d be baffled if either of them is occupying a spot in the bottom three by the end of the season.

That leaves Bristol City, Burton Albion, Blackburn Rovers, Wigan Athletic and Rotherham.

Look away now, Millers fans, because we’re writing you off this year. In fact, our traders are no longer offering odds on the South Yorkshire outfit to go down, because they’re that confident it’s going to happen.

That leaves four sides battling it out for safety – and two must go down.

Bristol City are entering incredibly dangerous territory, having picked up just four points from a possible 30 in their last 10 games.

Chelsea loanee Tammy Abraham has been their shining light this season, but the Robins can’t rely solely on the 19-year-old, and it’s likely their slide down the table isn’t over just yet, especially with clashes against Derby County and Leeds United to come in the next four days.

Blackburn, meanwhile, have struggled to find any real consistency this season, and have recorded back-to-back wins in the Championship just once this season.

Their transfer activity last month was largely non-existent too, bringing in just Lucas Joao on loan from Sheffield Wednesday and re-signing Marvin Emnes from Swansea City.

Wigan, on the other hand, were incredibly busy in the January transfer window, especially in the final few days.

Joyce brought in no less than 11 names, including the likes of Alex Bruce, Gabriel Obertan and 24-year-old sensation, Omar Bogle.

Their arrivals have already made an immediate impact, with both Callum Connolly and Bogle netting braces in their debuts.

While it may take a few of weeks for this new squad to gel, Wigan are lucky in that their relegation rivals are struggling for form right now, and that’s almost bought the Latics enough time to experiment.

In short, survival has gone from a pipe dream to a very realistic ambition in the space of six weeks.

Seven of their 26 points this season have come from their last four games. So if anyone is on the up at the bottom, it’s Wigan Athletic.

They head to Fulham next in their quest to avoid the drop, and 9/2 says they improve on the point they picked up against the Cottagers the last time these two sides met.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing

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Alex Apati

Having graduated from Birmingham City University with a degree in Creative Writing with English, Alex joined the News team following a three year stint working for Ladbrokes behind the counter. When he's not watching darts, he's throwing them. Failing that you'll find him YouTubeing Thierry Henry's greatest Arsenal goals.