CITY and UNITED may both be live on BBC this weekend but two of Greater Manchester’s other teams are also hoping to reach the FA Cup 5th Round this weekend.
WIGAN fans will need no reminding they shocked City to win the 2013 final. Three days later they were relegated from the Premier League and that week has typified the rollercoaster ride they have ridden since.
Latics’ last 4 seasons have ended like this – play-offs, relegation, promotion, relegation – and that could be followed by another promotion as Wigan are currently 5 points clear at the top of League One.
Oh, and they’ve also enjoyed another Cup run this season. After seeing off Crawley and Fylde earlier in the competition, they upset Premier League Bournemouth 3-0 last week to book their place in the 4th Round.
They followed that up with a 3-1 league win at Plymouth to go 14 unbeaten so will be hopeful of causing another shock as they welcome another top-flight side to the DW Stadium this Saturday, West Ham.
Manager Paul Cook has also bolstered his squad this month, bringing in former Bury striker James Vaughan from Sunderland and midfielder Jay Fulton on loan from Swansea.
And even though Wigan have seen a huge turnover players since that dramatic Wembley win in 2013, the significance of that achievement is not lost on the current crop.
Forward Ryan Colclough may have been at Crewe at the time but, in an interview for Saturday’s match programme, he says: “Seeing Ben Watson’s goal go in at the end (above) made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.
“We’re carrying that on our shoulders every time we play in the competition and we want to honour the club’s history in the cup to the best of our ability. Who knows, it could a dream come true again. The last time we played Bournemouth in the third round we went on to win the FA Cup, so I think we’ve got a lot to live up to.”
The 23-year-old, who joined Wigan in January 2016, adds: “The atmosphere amongst the boys is great, it’s an unbelievable dressing room and the best since I’ve been at the club. There’s a real togetherness and everybody wants to achieve the same thing, we want to win and going into this game everyone believes that we can.”
ROCHDALE are at the other end of League One, just 2 points above rock-bottom Bury after last Saturday’s league match with Southend was postponed, but they have also managed to reach Round 4.
In fact, it’s the 4th time in 5 seasons that Dale have managed to get this far and they visit Championship side Millwall tomorrow hoping to reach the 5th Round for the first time since 2003, when they lost 3-1 at Wolves.
Unlike Wigan, Dale’s form has been pretty miserable as they’ve won just 2 league games since September 23. But the FA Cup has provided some respite as Keith Hill’s men saw off non-league sides Bromley and Slough before dumping out league rivals Doncaster in the last round.
A surprise win on Saturday will give Dale a huge lift as they prepare to battle it out with the likes of local rivals Bury and Oldham for League One survival.
And goodness knows they need it as they’re now 9 points from safety – and they’ve got to play league leaders Wigan on Tuesday night. But anything’s possible in football. Just ask Ben Watson!