Cup of Dreams
Our Cup of Dreams feature continues into the fourth round as we talk to one of the stars of Wigan's victorious campaign from last year, midfield ace James McArthur.
By Graeme Bailey - Tweet me: @graemebailey
Last Updated: 26/01/14 10:09am
The phrase anything can happen in cup football rings through England on every cup weekend, and that was embodied by Wigan's win over Manchester City in last season's final.
It was one of the biggest shocks in cup final history, and the biggest shock witnessed at the new Wembley Stadium.
Ahead of their fourth-round clash with Crystal Palace this weekend, we spoke with Scottish star James McArthur - one of the leading lights from Wigan's win over City.
"It was a big upset on the day, but it wasn't so much for us as we played them a few weeks earlier at the Etihad and should have beaten them but all credit goes to our former manager Roberto Martinez and his tactics, if we had played any other way we probably would not have won," said McArthur on the cup final.
Whilst looking ahead to the Palace tie, McArthur admits that the FA Cup is not Wigan's priority. Unsurprisingly, that is very much promotion back to the Premier League, but as he admits, it wasn't last year either!
"This year is hard as we want to do really well in the FA Cup as we are holders, but at the same time we have not really focused as we are looking at the league campaign and that is our main focus to get back to the Premier League."
He insists that last season's cup winners in the current squad are in no way sick of the cup, indeed it is the opposite.
"It is strange, but I think the boys from last year have that spark after winning it - in football you never know and everyone is excited."
Despite relegation from the Premier League, McArthur admits he would not swap his day at Wembley last May.
"It is something I will never forget in my life, no matter what you do in your career, nobody can take that away from you and that day was very special, and like last year our main focus was staying in the Premier League, and it is similar this season when we want to concentrate on our league form, but it is a welcome distraction and we know how special it is."
Wigan's cup run this year is being masterminded by their new boss Uwe Rosler, and McArthur is a big fan of how the German is operating.
"He is a winner and wants to win every match and that gets through to the players, and we are the exactly the same," he continued.
"We want to win every match - I would not say that we are a threat to anyone, but we can be and we want to win again, it is a special feeling to lift that trophy."
Looking ahead to the Palace game, McArthur insists that Wigan are fully prepared and are looking to take another scalp, given they have not lost an FA Cup tie for over two years when ironically they suffered a giant killing at the hands of Swindon Town.
"It is obviously going to be a tough match," he said. "They are coming in to good form under Tony Pulis, but it is kind of similar to ourselves with a new manager and they will want to kick-start their season.
"It is going to be hard for us, they are a Premier League side with a top squad, but we are a good side too and we can hopefully give the fans that cup buzz again.
"We are focusing on the cup tie, and we know consistency is a big thing - we had a blip against Doncaster last week but we want to get back to winning ways and get that momentum. Winning games is the best thing in football and we want to get back to that starting Saturday."
He admits that Wigan's campaign this season has been a gruelling one.
"It has been hectic, we have played in the Charity Shield, in Europe six games and the Championship, and when everyone is getting a small break we are catching up on games, so it is hectic but as a player you want to play in as many games as you can and it has been really enjoyable, we are not far off the play-offs," he said.
"It does take some adapting being in the Championship, in the Premier League you are fresh a lot, expect a few times - but a lot of the time it is Saturday to Saturday, but the Championship you are in to a game straight away, but it is a great league and I have really enjoyed this season so far and we are looking forward to every game."
Speaking of the Premier League, McArthur is one of those cup winners strongly linked with a move back to the top flight and he admits that he wants to be back as soon as possible, but with Wigan.
"I want to be back there but I want to be back there with Wigan - I have not heard anything and I am not listening, I am just concentrating on my own football," he said.
He insists that, under Rosler, Wigan can look forward to a promotion push this term.
"We want to play football and we can mix it up sometimes too and as a manager he knows that. He knows what to do tactically and I am really enjoying myself."
Despite dropping into the Championship, McArthur's international aims have not taken a hit.
"Since the new gaffer has come in I have played every game and long may that continue and on the international squad I am hoping as it is a real honour to represent your country.
"The way he wants to play, it is really encouraging for Scotland right now."