Latics in line to repeat their great escape of previous seasons.
Wigan Athletic’s hopes of staying in the Premier League were given a huge boost on Saturday thanks to a 1-0 win over fellow strugglers Norwich City, in-form striker Arouna Kone with the latter winner for the home side.
The Ivory Coast striker’s 11th goal of the campaign not only gave Wigan their first ever league win over Norwich in six meetings but pushed them up to fourth from bottom ahead of Aston Villa because of a better goal difference.
Villa play Liverpool on Sunday.
Norwich’s alarming slide into the relegation battle continues as defeat leaves them with just one win in their last 14 league games and just four points above the bottom three having also played a game more than Wigan.
The first-half had been a humdrum affair with Norwich playing any football of note though good approach work was let down by poor finishing.
Emblematic of that was French defender Sebastien Bassong’s effort which went so far of the mark that it ended up as a throw-in.
The hosts, looking a long way from the side that beat Everton in the FA Cup quarter-finals and then Newcastle in the league, had just the one effort from Kone but that went wide.
The second-half too was a drab affair with Norwich’s Bradley Johnson unleashing a decent effort on the hour mark on what was his 200th league start but it drifted just wide of the goal.
Wigan fans thought they had stolen the lead in the 69th minute when Antolin Alcaraz, who passed a late fitness test on his troublesome groin, saw his goalbound header cleared off the line by Jonny Howson.
That appeared to spark the Wigan players into action as James McCarthy fired a great drive past the post and then Jordi Gomez had his goalbound shot blocked.
However, their pressure paid-off as Kone pounced to convert Gomez’s superbly judged pass and give Wigan fans real cause for optimism that their side was capable of securing their Premier League status.