Tonight will see Leeds United and Wigan Athletic meet for just the sixth competitive time in football history. Just once have they been in the same division, back in 2004/2005. Since then – well up until this season – Wigan have been in a higher division than Leeds. That’s the sort of sentence that gives you nightmares and shows just how far we’ve dropped.
But it is what it is, and the FA Cup winners are tonight’s visitors to Elland Road, where the two sides have met twice. Wigan won 2-0 back in October 2004, and the other – in an FA Cup tie in 2006 – finished 3-3 after extra time, Wigan winning 4-2 on penalties. Many Leeds fans will remember that game well, with legend Gary Kelly scoring an absolute screamer.
Two of the other three matches between the teams have also been played in the FA Cup, Leeds winning one 2-0 back in the Billy Bremner managerial regime. The other was the first leg of the 2006 tie, which finished 1-1 – taking it to the replay which Wigan won on penalties.
Leeds’ heaviest defeat was away at the DW Stadium (JJB Stadium at the time) where we were hammered 3-0. The same season Wigan won promotion whilst Leeds consolidated in their maiden Championship season.
Despite winning the FA Cup last season Wigan couldn’t save themselves from being relegated. Roberto Martinez departed, Owen Coyle arrived, but lasted until the weekend just gone. Without a manager, struggling for any consistency, and coming to a Leeds side who’ve won four in a row at Elland Road. This can only go one way, right? Just 6 wins in 16 games, they sit 14th. They’ve lost their last three games (all at the DW) but won their last away game 1-0 against Yeovil.
Leeds on the other hand, had won three in a row, up until the weekend where it was back to reality. A disappointing 1-0 defeat to Blackburn in front of just under 7,000 away fans – which will be by far the biggest away following in the Championship this season.