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Wigan v Sheffield United preview: No early home comforts for Kolo Toure

Monday's Championship match features sides at opposing ends of the table as struggling Wigan host promotion-chasing Sheffield United.

The Latics made an encouraging start under new boss Kolo Toure when recording a 1-1 draw against Millwall but face a Blades side who returned from the World Cup break with a 1-0 win over Huddersfield. 

That result means they have now been victorious in five of their last six matches and with wins in their last three away games, could provide their fans with an early Christmas present when they head west.

What: Wigan v Sheffield United 
Where: DW Stadium, Wigan 
When: 20:00, Monday 19th December 
How to watch: Sky Sports Main Event 
Odds: Wigan 14/5, Draw 23/10, Sheff Utd 21/20 

Contrasting records 

After earning promotion from League One in 2021/22, Wigan's return to the second tier has been anything but easy and they find themselves firmly entrenched in a relegation battle. 

Their woes saw the club sack Leam Richardson after a run of six defeats in seven games and the move worked, beating Blackpool 2-1 under interim boss Rob Kelly in their final match before the break. 

With them 13/8 To be Relegated, the Latics will hope Toure's appointment and their draw at the Den can finally ignite their season.  

Wigan's form at the DW Stadium will be crucial but they currently have the worst home record in the Championship. 

In fact, that victory over Blackpool was one of just two wins on their own patch. In contrast, United have excelled on the road, with their tally of six away triumphs in the Championship level-best with Preston, as of writing. 

The Blades are 8/15 To be Promoted and seem to be getting things right with Paul Heckingbottom now a year into being their permanent manager.

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Firm foundations key for Blades 

Key to United's success has been their defensive record. Heckingbottom's side have conceded just 19 times in their 22 games, a tally that is level-best in the division with Coventry, who have played two games less. 

With their 36 goals scored the second-best behind Burnley, they appear a well-rounded team but the same cannot be said for Wigan on the evidence of this season's results. 

The Latics have scored precisely a goal a game, while their 32 conceded is among the worst in the Championship. 

Toure's task is getting them to score more while simultaneously conceding less. Having worked under Brendan Rodgers, the Ivorian is likely to have a possession-based game in mind but his side's current predicament means he may initially have to look to grind out results. 

An away to zero in the Result/Both Teams to Score market chimes in at 12/5, while United to triumph with under 2.5 goals in the game is available at 10/3 for punters who often look for the Result / Total Goals odds.

Sharp-shooter still key for the visitors 

The two teams' contrasting fortunes in recent years mean Monday's game will be their first meeting since January 2019. 

United won that duel at the DW 3-0 and a certain Billy Sharp was on the scoresheet. He had earlier netted a hat-trick in the pair's previous clash at Bramall Lane, while he was also on target in a 3-3 draw at the DW in January 2016. 

The evergreen forward scored the only goal in that 1-0 win over Huddersfield. Surprisingly, that was just his first strike of the season but the 36-year-old is the type of forward who can explode once he gets off the mark. 

Sharp, 21/10 Anytime Goalscorer, is part of a talent-packed Blades forward line, with, as of writing, both Iliman Ndiaye and Oli McBurnie having netted a joint-Championship best of nine goals this season.  

Ndiaye is 3/1 as an Anytime Goalscorer, while there could be some sense in backing McBurnie to be United's Last Goalscorer. 

The Scotland international often does his best work off the bench and is 11/4 to net his team's final strike. 

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