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James McCarthy: Wigan will beat the drop

REPUBLIC of Ireland star James McCarthy remains confident Wigan will avoid relegation from the Barclays Premier League despite a five-point gap to safety.

Aston Villa's win at home to Sunderland on Monday means Wigan cannot climb out of the bottom three even with a win away to West Brom on Saturday.

After next Tuesday's home game with Swansea they also face an FA Cup final against Manchester City at Wembley, just three days before a daunting away game at Arsenal, but the final fixture of the season at home to Villa could still prove vital.

"We are really looking forward to the game (against West Brom) and there is a good mood in the camp at the moment," McCarthy told the club's official website.

"We want to get out on the pitch straight away because we are playing well at the moment and the more we play the better our results will be.

"It is still in our hands and the main thing is concentrating on winning every game we've got left. Saturday is one of two cup finals before the FA Cup final and we'll be going to The Hawthorns looking for only a victory.

"We all know now that we have to get points on the board and that's the only way we're going to stay up and make people proud."

Wigan were denied a priceless win over Tottenham last weekend by a late own goal, but McCarthy says spirits in the camp remain high.

"It's a great bunch of boys here and everyone's spirits bounce of each other which makes for a very determined group of players," he said.

"It's obviously going to be tough but we're looking forward to the challenge and we're really happy with the support being given to us.

"We've got tough games but we're very, very confident and if we keep on playing like we have in the last few weeks then we'll get the results."

Villa will look to take the confidence gained from their 6-1 thrashing of Sunderland to Carrow Road, where they face a Norwich side now only one point above them.

Chris Hughton's men have won just one of their last eight league games to slide back into the relegation scrap, with their most recent defeat at Stoke almost certainly enough to keep the Potters safe in the top flight.

Stoke travel to Sunderland on Monday, with Paolo Di Canio's side without Stephane Sessegnon for the rest of the season after the forward lost his appeal against the red card picked up at Villa.

The Black Cats had secured back-to-back wins over Newcastle and Everton without conceding a goal to ease their relegation fears, but Di Canio labelled the crushing defeat at Villa as "unacceptable".

Fellow strugglers Newcastle, hammered 6-0 at home by Liverpool last weekend and below Villa and Sunderland on goal difference, travel to West Ham in desperate need of points.

At the other end of the table, Arsenal visit relegated QPR looking for a win to take them back above Chelsea into third in the table, with Rafael Benitez's side not in action until Sunday's clash with Manchester United at Old Trafford.

Liverpool also entertain Everton in the Merseyside derby at Anfield on Sunday, while Saturday's remaining fixtures see relegated Reading travel to Fulham, Tottenham at home to Southampton and Swansea up against visitors Manchester City.

PA Media