IT’S the ultimate dilemma for Roberto Martinez this weekend.
FA Cup glory or Premier League survival?
The Wigan boss has tended to use the domestic cups to field fringe players and blood youngsters to increase his pool for the Premier League.
But now Latics find themselves 90 minutes away from a Wembley semi-final.
Standing in their way are Everton, who have fielded strong sides in every round as they try and finally win a trophy for long-serving boss David Moyes.
If Martinez fields his strongest XI, there is no reason why they can’t win against a side they dominated in a 1-1 draw at the DW earlier this year, and only lost to a scrappy deflection in the return. A win would also lift the gloom after a 4-0 hammering by Liverpool.
However, if the Spaniard again chooses to rotate, the pendulum undoubtedly swings in Everton’s favour.
It’s not an easy one – especially with a crunch league game against Newcastle looming. A couple more injuries to key players could prove a blow in the relegation run-in.
But Latics have arguably their best-ever chance of FA Cup success – I’m glad I don’t have Martinez’s job this week! THESE are early days in the Super League season, but Wigan are cruising along fine.
Their gutsy win at Castleford saw them climb to second in the ladder.
The Warriors are missing several key players. But the experiences they young players are getting now could prove vital by the end of the season in ensuring Shaun Wane has competition, and cover, for every position.
‘INSPIRE a generation’ was the slogan for the London Games.
They even gave the honour of lighting the Olympic torch to a clutch of young hopefuls to hammer home the message.
It was supposed to inspire the Jessica Ennis’ of the future. Now, after the farcical decision to close Sheffield’s Don Valley Stadium as a cost-cutting measure, the gold-medallist herself is left with nowhere to train!
Inspire a generation? Pull the other one.
SPOKE to Bradford’s Australian centre Adrian Purtell the other day. Nice chap.
This week he’s hoping to get the green-light to return to action following his heart-attack last May. Trouble is, thanks to the brains at the RFL, he can’t play for Bradford’s reserve competition since it’s now been re-branding as the Under-19s, and he can’t drop down a division on a dual-registration because he’s from overseas.
And so we’re left with the laughable situation where a player’s first match back after nine months out from a heart attack – a heart attack – must be in Super League.
That sound stupid to anyone else?
CONGRATULATIONS to Holly Bleasdale on her European athletics gold in the pole vault last Sunday.
An honourary Wiganer who lived and trained in the town until recently, she took centre stage on a day when two Wiganers – Jenny Meadows, on the comeback from injury, and rising star Lauren Howarth – also reached finals in their events.
ANDY Johnson felt like the proverbial duck out of water at the unveiling of a Joining Jack team which will cycle the same route as one of the Tour de France stages.
Flanked by Bradley Wiggins, as well as a team of rugby greats who all share a passion for cycling, Andy quipped: “I’m not very good on the bike... I can do a bunny-hop on a BMX, but I don’t think that’s going to be any use, do you?”