Wigan manager Gary Caldwell is delighted that the decision was taken to play their Johnstone’s Paint area semi-final against Barnsley on Saturday at 3pm.
Standard procedure is to play matches in the competition in midweek but the powers that be have moved the game to coincide with other teams playing in the FA Cup second round.
And with cheap tickets on sale on the day, the manager expects to see a big crowd cheering his team on their quest for another chance to play at Wembley.
Wigan of course are no strangers to the famous stadium after consecutive appearances in the FA Cup in 2012 when they won the trophy and again the year after where they lost to Arsenal in the semi-final.
And Caldwell hopes the game being played at the weekend will boost his team’s chances for another day out in London.
“The decision to play the game on a Saturday is a great one,” he said.
“It’s also a great kick off time for our supporters too. The ticket prices are fantastic, at this time of year they’re very reasonable for adults and children.
“To watch a game of professional football for £5 in this day and age is pretty much unheard of, but also the fact that kids can come down for £1 because it’s important that we get as many into the stadium as possible, they’re the future of this club.
“Hopefully people will turn up in their numbers and see a real team performance and a team that they can be proud of, playing for the club with real passion, which might encourage them to come back and support us in the near future.”
Wigan’s league form has just stumbled in the last couple of weeks, failing to score in their last two games and only picking up a point in the process.
Taking their minds off the league may just be the token for the Latics’ with a number of key games approaching around the festive period.
But Caldwell is adamant that he will put out a strong time and respect the competition now that we enter the latter stages.
“The closer you get, the more determined you are,” he said.
“We approached the first two rounds in a really positive manner. The results were excellent, and the league results after them were good as well because of that momentum that winning games gives you.
“We’ll prepare in exactly the same way and put a team out that we think can win the game. The closer you get to Wembley, the more you’re determined to win to take our fans back there.”
Chris McCann is struggling after coming off on Saturday at Southend but this seems to be the only fresh injury concern for the club.
Barnsley themselves sit bottom of League One after a terrible run of form that has seen them lose nine of their last eleven league and suffer a giant killing to Altrincham in the FA Cup.
But Caldwell knows that they could be dangerous as league pressure subsides for the weekend and expects the Yorkshire club to raise their game at the DW.
“Barnsley have shown themselves to be a good side in the games I’ve seen,” he said.
“We’ve seen before from teams who have come to the DW and been down near the bottom, that there are no easy games.
“Shrewsbury, Crewe and Swindon all gave us difficult games, so we know again that it’s going to be tough.
“Barnsley will come and raise their game against us, just as every team has this year, and we have to be prepared for that and go out and match that to let our quality come through.”
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