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FA Cup Semi Final: Match Preview

Anyone here excited? Well I am. This weekend will be Wigan's second trip to a capital Stadium in seven years, while our first trip to New Wembley. If you aren't excited, then you better start getting. Here is my build up to this weekends massive massive game.

Jamie McDonald

It will be a reenactment of the last time Wigan went to Wembley for a cup competition. The 1999 Auto windscreen final, which with an injury time winner from Paul Rodgers saw the Latics go home happy. On that day Millwall where the favorites, and Wigan where the underdogs who everyone expected to lose; now the tables have turned.

Wigan Athletic the Premier League club will walk out onto the pitch at the weekend with the bookies expecting us to beat Millwall. When you look at that sentence it shows just how much the times have changed since that day in 1999. The first being the bookies backing us, and the second being we are a Premier League club.

It is games like this where you can look back and see just how much this football club has changed over the past couple of decades and has only gone from strength to strength. The FA cup final is the only league cup final we have yet to reach, having already won the Football League Trophy (twice), and reached the final of the League Cup. The FA Cup would be a nice final addition.

But before we get carried away with ourselves, we have to beat Millwall and that won't be easy.

The Lions who are also in a race to beat relegation this season, have many quality players who have competed at the top level, and will be able to hurt Wigan if they get the chance. The likes of Danny Shittu, Rob Hulse and Andy Keogh all have Premier League experience.

Shittu club captain will be important for Millwall in this game as much as he has been in many others. The influential captain has already public started the mind games this week talking to the press, showing just how much he wants to win this one.

The only way he will do that, is if he keeps Arouna Kone quite, considering quite a few defenders have struggled this year, I don't feel Danny will fair any better. Yet it isn't Millwall's defense that I feel could win it for them. It is their midfield which I think could pose the threat.

They have some very talented central midfielders, who could run rings round Jordi Gomez. Its nothing to do with Jordi's lack of talent (which there is none) it is the fact the midfielder seems so unwilling to run at times; this really is a game where we have to look to James McArthur to partner James McCarthy.

The rest of the team should fall into place. Whether or not a few players will be rested is yet to be seen. I wouldn't surprise me if Gary Caldwell if chosen to play alongside Antolin Alcaraz this weekend. The Captain deserves at least the chance to walk to the team out at Wembley, the partnership of the two defenders has proven to be so well placed in the past, why can't it work now.

While the other change could be around Callum McManaman. Will Roberto Martinez keep faith in the winger? Callum hasn't done anything wrong in his last two starts, but has gone off the boil slightly. It could pave the way for the reintroduction of Franco Di Santo to the starting line up, and with the team going with two players up front.

However you play it, cup games are never predictable. That it is what is so great about the FA Cup, it wasn't predictable that we would be here this year, and same for Millwall; but we both are. Lets hope that Wigan can avoid another upset and not lose at Wembley.