LEE CATTERMOLE believes Wigan’s familiarity with the Premier League’s relegation battle can see his former club beat the odds yet again.
While Sunderland are desperate to kick-start a sterile campaign into gear at the Stadium of Light tomorrow, the Latics find themselves in a far more perilous state.
Last weekend’s draw with struggling Lancashire neighbours Blackburn ended Wigan’s eight-game losing streak, yet Yakubu’s 98th minute leveller ensured Roberto Martinez’s side lie five points adrift of safety.
It could get even worse for Wigan, with four of the five games after tomorrow against members of the current top seven.
But after Wigan survived on the final day last season, Sunderland skipper Cattermole insists his former employers can extend their seven-year stay in the top flight.
Cattermole told the Echo: “Wigan have always seemed to be in or around that relegation area. The best season they had was when the gaffer (Steve Bruce) was in charge and it was a bit safer.
“But they always seem to pull through and I’m sure they will again. It was a massive blow for them conceding so late against Blackburn.
“When you look at a couple of the decisions on the day that went against them, that’s what happens when you’re struggling.
“You look at Newcastle, who have been on a great run, and you get those bits of luck. When your confidence is high, things work out better for you.
“But I’m sure they’ll bounce back. They’ve got a good manager with a good set of lads.
“They’re a great club and I thoroughly enjoyed my time there. I wish them all the best.”
Failure to beat Wigan tomorrow, particularly after last weekend’s stalemate with Fulham, would further disillusion supporters already frustrated at Sunderland’s sluggish start to the campaign.
The Black Cats have taken just 11 points from their opening 12 games ahead of three successive outings against members of the bottom four.
But Cattermole remains confident that Sunderland’s fortunes are on the verge of changing despite failing to find a way past an organised Fulham outfit.
“I’m confident we can have a good season this year, I really am,” added the 23-year-old. “If you look at the games we’ve lost, they’ve only been by a goal here or there and they’ve been our own fault if anything.
“With the amount of players we’ve brought in, it’s been tough for us. But I think we’re on the verge of having a good season.
“We just need those one or two results to give us that bit more confidence.”