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October 24, 2013 8:05 PM BST
The DW Stadium — Wigan
Referee:‬ F. Meyer‎
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Wigan - Rubin Kazan Preview: Inconsistent Latics face stern test

Owen Coyle's men have made a good start to their maiden European campaign but have struggled in the Championship, and face a side who have won both their Group D fixtures

By Peter Hanson

Wigan Athletic players celebrate scoring a goal
Wigan face a stern examination of their European credentials when they host Rubin Kazan in the Europa League on Thursday.

The Latics sit two points behind their Russian counterparts and will hope home advantage will prove crucial, though they head into the match in shaky form.

Owen Coyle's charges have made a solid start to their first ever European campaign, with a 0-0 draw away to Zulte Warege followed up by a convincing 3-1 triumph at home to Maribor.

The Europa League has provided a welcome relief from their indifferent league form, though, as they sit 13th in the Championship having lost three of their last five matches.

Their latest setback came in a 1-0 defeat away to Blackpool on Saturday, and while goalkeeper Scott Carson admits his side have to address their inconsistency, he is happy to have the chance to bounce straight back against Rubin.

"The positive for us is that we've got another game on Thursday, albeit in a different competition, but it means we can go again and try to rebuild our confidence," he told the club's official website.

"We've got to be confident in ourselves, that's been a problem and we need to sort it out.

"There's real quality in this team there's no doubt about that, I just think we need to express ourselves a bit more."

Striker Grant Holt returned from a knee injury off the bench against Blackpool and could come into contention for a starting spot, but Shaun Maloney (back), Ivan Ramis (knee), Gary Caldwell and Ali Al Habsi (both hip) remain long-term absentees.

They face a difficult challenge against Kurban Berdyev's charges, with Rubin winning both of their Group D fixtures so far and socring nine goals in the process.

A 5-2 rout in their opener away at Maribor was followed by a 4-0 home-demolition of Zulte Waregem.

But they too have had an inauspicious start to their domestic campaign, taking just 16 points from 13 matches in the Russian Premier League.

Berdyev will look for a swift response to his side's 2-1 setback away to Volga on Saturday, when Alexander Prudnikov's injury-time strike proved no more than a consolation.

Influential striker Jose Rondon remains sidelined with a fractured metatarsal, but Berdyev has no fresh injury concerns ahead of Thursday's fixture.

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Europa League ‎(EL)‎ 7 Nov 2013 Rubin 1 - Wigan Athletic 0
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Europa League ‎(EL)‎ 24 Oct 2013 Wigan Athletic 1 - Rubin 1
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22Scott CarsonGoalkeeper
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30Ryan ShottonDefender
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8Ben WatsonMidfielder
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