This weeks Wigan Evening Post 12th Man feature has two contributions from Vital Latics:
Still A Special Competition
Call me old fashioned, sentimental or just simply not with the plan, but the FA cup is a special competition to me. Having supported the Latics since way back when, being brought up on the excitement of cup football is a feeling that tends to stay with you, it is a competition that I care deeply about, I may be on my own, though I suspect I am not, but I look forward to the draws and genuinely get excited about the prospect of a good cup run
To make NINE changes to the team for a 3rd round tie seems to me a little bit ridiculous, especially when you are facing opponents who are on an excellent run of form and are a half decent side. The argument put forward by the club was that it gives the young lads a run out and helps their development, I’d disagree, a one off game, in a disjointed team isn’t going to help anyone’s development and puts them under a lot of pressure, especially when the fans in the stands start shouting abuse.
I know we didn’t lose the tie, there is the prospect of a great 4th round game at Macclesfield if we can get past Bournemouth in the replay. I do understand the dilemma, I know some of our first teamers were in desperate need of a rest, but nine changes, were so many necessary?
Looking ahead to Saturday, I hope the rest has done the squad some good because we have a very tough game away at Fulham, losing Arouna Kone to the African Cup is a massive loss, fingers crossed that Franco steps up to the mark and leads that front line well, the new lad from United Henriquez looked alright on Saturday, he smacked the bar with a header and he had good movement, perhaps he may be able to hit the ground running and support Di Santo, I do hope so
We have another massive game next Tuesday, Bournemouth away, but don’t get me started on that one yet!
Magic Gone Missing
The magic of the FA Cup, that`s what they still call it. Unfortunately that phrase and sentiment is not appropriate to Wigan Athletic as we stand today. As a Premier league club, we no longer need to try and boost our coffers, or seek exposure via a cup run. Once you put the game in that context, you can fully understand Roberto using it to make sure his overall squad is in the best shape possible both mentally and physically, by giving rests or game time to various players as appropriate.
The game itself was therefore as expected, a mixed bag of experienced players and players trying to force their way into recognition for the premier league. The lower league team, as expected had a real go and then as expected the top class side shows its class and comes through. Except that the last bit still hasn`t happened yet. I fully expect us to complete the job in the away leg. In that fixture Bournemouth will be buoyed up by their performance in the first leg, come out a bit more, and allow us some space to exploit. Several of the junior players made a case for inclusion, some of the others were unable to impose themselves on the game and may therefore be on their way out.
Once you put the game in the modern context, you realise that the fact the performance wasn`t the greatest, is not that big of an issue. The fact it wasn’t quite that bad and had many positives is what will ultimately count in the future. Of all the clubs that enter this competition, even with the modern expansion, there are still only 4 that get their day out at Wembley, and we’re still in that draw.
The latest edition of the PWU Wigan Athletic podcast is now available for download.
This week we are back in the warmth of the studio following our ‘on location’ edition last time out
Barry, Dan, Greg, Rob, Paul and Gareth discuss the cup tie against Bournemouth (00:00)and give one player in particular a bit of stick, the replay is also looked forward to with a bit trepidation(16:10)
We have a tie against Macclesfield awaiting us if we can get through the replay next week, the prospect of this fills the crew with glee (13:30)
This weekend sees the return to the bread and butter of the league and the crew assess our chances of getting something from Craven Cottage where we face Fulham (22:00)
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The PWU crew with the FA Cup
Latics and Proud
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