FA Cup distracting from ‘underdogs’ Wigan Athletic’s Premier League survival, says former Latics man

By Matt Simpson

Former Wigan Athletic player John Coyne believes the FA Cup final against Manchester City is a distraction ahead of two massive games in their race for Premier League survival.

The Latics will be appearing in their first-ever final in this competition, but the season is not complete with two league games to play to preserve their status.

And Coyne, who made a handful of first-team appearances for the Latics alongside current boss Roberto Martinez, believes the players’ minds will be elsewhere when they step onto the pitch at Wembley.

“They have two bigger games to worry about,” he said. “Personally, I believe the game is a distraction for the players.

“I know Roberto has said they have three cup finals but I think they want stay in the league more than anything.

“Sometimes a cup final is a nice distraction, but their minds will be on staying in the Premier League – that’s probably the focus.”

Wigan will head into the match off the back of a heart-breaking 3-2 defeat to Swansea – their chance to close the gap according to the former Everton trainee.

“Staying up is going to be very difficult,” he added. “Tuesday night against Swansea was the big chance to catch up Newcastle, Sunderland and Norwich.

“They’ve got to go to Arsenal after the cup final and they have got to get a result but Arsenal need a result as well so it is going to be extremely difficult for them.”

And Coyne believes the Latics will relish their ‘underdogs’ tag, but their injury worries could hinder them.

“If there is one shining light, I would say going into the match as underdogs helps Wigan,” he said.

“The pressure is off them – people expect City to win, the bookies expect City to win. They are clearly the favourites.

“If Wigan can hold out until late on in the game they might get a bit nervy but I think they’ve just got too much.”

A first-ever FA cup final will be the biggest game many of the Latics’ players careers so far, which Coyne thinks will be the difference on the pitch.

“City have got players who are used to the big occasions, lads like Yaya Toure who played in the Champions League final and that’s quite telling,” he explained.

“They’ve got players who have been there and won the Premier League and the FA Cup and it is that big game experience which will be the difference.

“Today is just one step too far for Wigan to be honest. I think they will struggle.”

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