The history makers? Five Wigan Athletic men who could steal FA Cup from Manchester City

By Matt Simpson & Aimee Howarth

Whatever the result come Saturday evening, Wigan Athletic will make history as they take on Manchester City in their first-ever FA Cup final at Wembley.

Of course, should the Latics lift the famous trophy it will no doubt have been a team effort, but here MM takes a look at five key men who could be crucial to their success.

Roberto Martinez (Manager)

Whether Wigan win the final or not, they have manager Martinez to thank for guiding them on a fantastic cup run, which has served as a pleasant distraction from their league worries.

Since joining the club three years ago, the Spaniard has led the club through ups and downs, as they narrowly avoided relegation from the Premier League each season.

And as the Latics face the 2011 FA Cup winners, they will be looking to their boss for inspiration more than ever.

Martinez’s side play attractive football, but it will be the pre-match and half-time team talks at Wembley on Saturday where the game will be won or lost.

Joel Robles (Goalkeeper)

After arriving on-loan from Atletico Madrid in January, a string of impressive performances has seen Robles replace Ali Al-Habsi as Wigan’s number one keeper.

The Spaniard already has two FA Cup ties under his belt, including keeping a clean sheet in last month’s impressive win against Everton at Goodison Park.

And against the likes of Samir Nasri, Sergio Aguero, David Silva and Carlos Tevez, his performance on Saturday could well be the difference between victory and defeat.

Callum McManaman (Midfielder)

The 22-year-old has made outstanding progress as a player since breaking into the Latics’ first team and has established himself as a key component of Martinez’s side.

A product of Everton’s youth system, McManaman is now beginning to transfer his hard work on the training ground into performances on the pitch.

And so far, Wigan are reaping the rewards as the tireless midfielder has scored in each of the Latics’ last three FA Cup ties.

The fans will be hoping he can continue his goal-scoring run come Saturday evening.

Shaun Maloney (Midfielder)

The midfielder is known for his set-piece accuracy and technical skill, which could be crucial if his side’s chances are few and far between in Saturday’s final.

After struggling to break into the first team during his first season at the club in 2011, he has gained a regular place this campaign.

And the Scot scored a crucial goal to snatch a point against QPR in the relegation battle, as well as setting-up two goals to mount an unlikely comeback against West Bromwich Albion.

He has already had a glimpse of Wembley success turning in a man-of-the-match performance against Millwall in the Latics’ first-ever FA Cup semi-final.

Another impressive performance will be needed if his side are to clinch the ultimate prize.

Arouna Koné (Striker)

In his first season at the club, Koné has quickly secured his place in the first team, notching up 35 appearances in all competitions so far.

Add to that his 13 goals – which make him the club’s top goal scorer for the season – and he is no doubt one of Martinez’s biggest assets and threats.

Koné’s two goals in the FA Cup came against Huddersfield Town in the fifth round and if he can score the winner against City, he will write into the club’s history books and fans’ hearts.

Image courtesy of BBC Sport, via YouTube, with thanks

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