Wigan’s growing pains are all too familiar to Norwich City boss Alex Neil
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Alex Neil can relate to Wigan Athletic's growing pains all too well ahead of tonight's Carrow Road clash.
The Latics bounced straight back to the Championship by winning the League One title in style but have found the going tough so far this season.
Gary Caldwell's side have picked up four points from their opening six games but their four defeats have all been by just one goal, as their attacking style continues to leave them vulnerable at the back.
It was a similar story for Norwich when stepping up to the Premier League last season, with a 6-2 thumping at Newcastle becoming a landmark moment which saw them take on a more defensive instinct.
'I think they'll be a possession-based team, they like to get the ball down, they like to play,' City boss Neil said. 'I went and watched them against Nottingham Forest, they lost the game 4-3 and scored three goals in that game, they do have good qualities in their team and will make it difficult for you.
'I think they're expansive, looking at them certainly against Sheffield Wednesday in their last game (a 2-1 away defeat on Saturday), there was quite a considerable difference in how they went about the match, so it wouldn't surprise me if they went about their business in a similar fashion when they come here.'
Neil faced Wigan's boss as a player during his Hamilton days, with Caldwell a centre-back for Celtic before finishing his playing days with the Latics south of the border.
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'I played against him, he was on one of the management courses I was on as well, so I know him pretty well,' Neil added. 'They did great last year, got them promoted, and when you go up a level that optimism and that style of play which they had last season I think they will find it a little bit more difficult to implement a level up because it's tough.
'I think they're trying to find the best balance for themselves at the moment.'
Neil is set to have Martin Olsson available tonight and Robbie Brady may also shake off the hip problem which forced him off after 12 minutes in Saturday's 3-2 win against Cardiff.
City's boss is also well aware that Wigan took an unexpected 1-0 win at Carrow Road back in March 2015 but insists revenge is not on his mind.
'I don't think that game had huge importance in that two years later I'm thinking 'I need to get them back for that', for a Wednesday night, 1-0 backs-against-the-wall defeat,' he added. 'It was a game at the time that we wanted to win, didn't perform well, they dug in and to be fair they got the points, so fair play to them.
'It's a different situation now, we want to win the game, we've come off the back of a good victory and we want to make sure that we play well and continue that good run.'