Pollitt shocked by Wigan win
By Stephen Bateman
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Mike Pollitt was more surprised than most by Wigan's win over Arsenal on Tuesday.
Wigan goalkeeper Mike Pollitt says he was more surprised than most by his side's Carling Cup win over Arsenal on Tuesday.
The former Rotherham shot-stopper was busy gearing up for a penalty shoot-out at the end of extra time when it dawned on him that Jason Roberts's last-gasp winner had sealed a famous victory thanks to the competition's away-goals rule.
He told Sky Sports News: "I couldn't understand it. I didn't realise! I forgot all about the away-goals rule.
"I was getting ready for the penalties, then I turned around and all the Arsenal fans were getting up and walking out. I was thinking: 'Where are they going now? It's going to be the exciting part - the penalties.'
"It sort of clicked when everyone jumped up on the bench. I thought: 'They're getting very excited for penalties' - then it clicked we'd got through, so it was quite weird at the time."
He also admitted that there were times when he thought that The Latics' luck had deserted them, as he continued: "When they got the goal in the second half you tend to think it's not going to be your night.
"But we've got that never-say-die attitude. The crowd were 'Ole-ing' and thought it was all over but the lads kept going and going and Jason popped up to silence the crowd and score the winner and send us through. It's brilliant."
Pollitt played a major part in the victory by saving Jose Reyes's penalty 21 minutes into the contest, although he says he was disappointed to see the Spaniard placing the ball on the spot.
"I was expecting Henry to take it," he continued. "I was disappointed he didn't. I just took a gamble and it paid off. I managed to pull of the save and I was quite pleased with it."
The 33-year-old is currently riding the crest of a wave at The JJB Stadium, although things have not always been this rosy.
"I started my career at Manchester United, had three years at Lincoln, Darlington, Notts County and Rotherham then on to Wigan and various clubs on loan in between. It's been a funny career but I'm having a bit of an Indian Summer now - playing in The Premiership and getting to the cup final.
"After being relegated with Rotherham last year it's been an amazing turnaround."
Although Wigan have tasted victory in the predecessor of the LDV Vans Trophy, their visit to The Millennium Stadium will represent the first time they have been involved in the final of a major cup competition and Pollitt believes residents of the Lancastrian town will lap up the occasion.
"It's fantastic for the whole town of Wigan. I'm sure they'll turn out in their thousands for the final. We've never been to a major final before, so hopefully they'll turn up in droves and cheer us on in Cardiff.
"We've got next month to prepare for it and there are a lot of games in The Premiership and we've got to make sure we stay up. That's the main focus of what we want to do."
The Farnworth-born keeper was also full of praise for manager Paul Jewell, saying that Wigan's work ethic is behind their recent success.
He continued: "He instils confidence in all the players. There are no Big Time Charlies here - we all work for each other. The manager keeps our feet on the ground and seems to have a magic wand.
"Everything he's done this year has come up trumps and everybody's in it together, so hopefully we can continue that."
Pollitt finished by taking a swipe at pundits who considered Wigan as certainties to be relegated at the end of their first season in The Premiership. He also revealed that he already has one eye on European football next season.
"We were down before we started and weren't given a chance - we were going to be down by Christmas. I think we've proved a lot of people wrong.
"Now there's the chance to play in Europe for a club that was in the non-league 28 years ago. That would be the icing on the cake."