The fifth round of the FA Cup, 16 teams, 8 games and one desire; to head to Wembley. Huddersfield stand in the way of Wigan Athletic and the dream of going to Wembley. A win in this round and a good draw in the quarter finals could see Latics hit the semi-final. But first we have to travel down the M62 to gain a win at the John Smith Stadium.
FA Cup fifth round weekend. Only the second time Wigan Athletic have been here, the last time in 1987 Latics won through to go into the quarter finals. Hope to do that again? This will be our third consecutive away game in the FA Cup, having played Bournemouth in the third round replay away, followed by an away day trip to Macclesfield.
This time we have an away tie with Championship Huddersfield, which will be our toughest game yet in the FA Cup. Can we manage to overcome this hurdle? Well going into this game we could have a relatively strong squad turning out.
Returns from injury of Adrian Lopez, Antolin Alcaraz, Emmerson Boyce and Ryo Miyaichi are all in the pipeline for this weekend’s game. Roberto Martinez has hinted at all four possibly playing at some point this weekend, as he looks to bring them back into the team to play in the Premier League.
Other players who are likely to feature include, Joel Robles, Roman Golobart, Daniel Redmond, Lee Mustoe, Jordi Gomez, Callum McManaman, Nouah Dicko, Arouna Kone and Angelo Henriquez. Now that is 13 players, so the starting line-up could be present in those lovely lists of players. I would like to think Roberto will go for a very attacking look to try and win this one.
Hopefully we will see both Kone and Henriquez start up front, what a combo that could prove to be. In the midfield Jordi Gomez will slip in the attacking midfielder role, with David Jones and most likely Roger Espionza behind Jordi.
Defensively that leaves a back three of Golobart, Lopez and Alcaraz if the two have returned from injury; wingbacks will be provided by the returning Emmerson Boyce on the right, with either Mustoe or Redmond taking the left wing back position.
A strong line-up? I think it will be enough to get pass Huddersfield. The Yorkshire club are in a mixed vein of form as they sit 18th in the Championship; they haven’t lost since November at Home, drawing to Cardiff and beating Crystal Palace in the process. So maybe going to the John Smith Stadium won’t be as easy as we thought.
Huddersfield have a lot of attacking talent on show Jermaine Beckford, James Vaughan, Adam Clayton, Lee Norvak, and Sean Scannell. Five players who are all very technically gifted player and who could cause Latics some problems. Between the five of them they have scored 21 goals this season, with Norvak, Clayton and Vaughan having five a piece and Beckford on four.
An impressive attacking line up, and that is the way former manager Simon Grayson liked to play. The former Leeds and Blackpool manager felt the axe at Huddersfield at the end of January, as the Yorkshire club looked to bring in a new man to secure their survival. Mark Robins took charge of the side on Thursday, ahead of this weekend’s game.
So will they be taking this game seriously? A strong line-up was picked during the week against Leister City so they could secure the tie. Of course the revenue from the game, with increased ticket sales and TV money was a big incentive for Huddersfield to make it. But like us will they rest key players to concentrate on their league position?
It’s hard to say what they will do with only recently having a new man take the helm. How they will play under him is again a mystery. One thing you can be sure of, is that the players will give their all, regardless of who is playing for them, as they will want to get through into the round as much as we do.
It’s not going to be an easy game, and if we perform like we have done in the last two FA Cup games we could lose this one. Yet a strong side will face Huddersfield, with the likes of Arouna Kone and Miyaichi likely to feature, Huddersfield will have to watch out as the Latics come to town.