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Wigan Athletic-Everton Preview


STATS Senior Writer

(AP) -- LONDON (SE) - Everton are one of two sides not to lose at home this season and will put that mark on the line in their Boxing Day fixture at Goodison Park against injury-hit Wigan Athletic.

Manager David Moyes' side lie in fifth place on 30 points as they harbour serious European ambitions. Their point total matches Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and West Bromwich Albion.

"We're bobbing in and out," Moyes said. "We've got some big teams around us, all we hope to do is if we can possibly finish in a European spot, it would be great for us at Everton."

Goodison Park has been a fortress with the Toffees posting four victories and four draws to join Stoke City as the only unbeaten clubs at home.

Everton are unbeaten in their last six overall, recording their second victory in that span with a 2-1 win at West Ham United on Saturday. Both teams finished with 10 men thanks to controversial red cards.

Toffees midfielder Darron Gibson was sent off in the 90th minute and Moyes said the club will appeal.

"I don't think you can use the word frivolous on it," Moyes said. "Because I think if you appealed, I think most people would look at it and say that's worth the appeal, it's not a stupid appeal."

Moyes will again be without hitman Marouane Fellaini, who will serve the middle game of a three-match ban for a headbutt on Stoke's Ryan Shawcross on Dec. 15.

Victor Anichebe and Steven Pienaar found the target Saturday as the Toffees turned in a strong performance without Fellaini, who has a team-high eight goals.

"If the players keep playing as well as they're doing, they've been excellent, I really have to say that," Moyes said.

Wigan Athletic have four defeats and a draw in their last five matches and sit in the drop in 18th place on 15 points. The Latics felt hard done by after falling 1-0 at home to Arsenal on Saturday when a foul by Jean Beausejour led to Mikel Arteta's penalty.

"It looked very, very soft because it's difficult to tell if there is contact or not," Wigan manager Roberto Martinez said.

James McCarthy played despite an ankle injury suffered the week before against Norwich City. Arouna Kone came up empty twice when he was in the clear to extend his goal drought to seven matches.

Martinez is without Adrian Lopez (hamstring), Gary Caldwell (hamstring), Shaun Maloney (groin), Ivan Ramis (hamstring), Ryo Miyaichi (ankle), Albert Crusat (knee), Antolin Alacaraz (groin) and Ben Watson (broken leg).

"We're in a period now that we've accumulated injuries, we've accumulated suspensions, that brings a little bit of negativity," Martinez said.

The manager is said to have had a word with striker Franco Di Santo, who had to temporarily come off the pitch Saturday for wearing an earring.

Martinez made three changes from the Norwich match, dropping Jordi Gomez and Mauro Boselli while David Jones came in for Lopez.

These sides played to a 2-2 draw at the DW Stadium on Oct. 6.

Updated December 24, 2012

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