EMMERSON Boyce admits Wigan Athletic will go into Sunday’s FA Cup trip to Manchester City with absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Latics make the short to to the Etihad for a repeat of last year’s final, when Ben Watson’s last-minute header ensured his place in Wigan folklore.
Much has changed since that day – Latics are, of course, a Championship side, while City completed part one of what they hope will be an unprecedented quadruple last weekend in the Capital One Cup.
Everyone outside the town has already written off Latics, much in the same way they did before last season’s never-to-be-forgotten final.
But Latics go into the game on the back of a run that has seen them lose only twice under Uwe Rosler – a City legend from his Mainer Road playing days.
That run includes five successive victories, four of which have come on the road.
And Boyce firmly believes Latics have every chance of pulling off another shock if they can continue their recent form.
“It’s one of those occasions where you’re not sure whether you’d rather be carrying on in the league or happy to switch your sights to the FA Cup,” Boyce told the Evening Post.
“We’ve managed to get a lot of momentum now and, although we know it’ll be a tough game at Manchester City, we will be ready for it.
“The manager was probably jumping up and down, waiting for that draw, being a former City favourite.
“At the end of the day, you want to play against the best players – and what bigger stage than to go to Manchester City against the quality players they’ve got.
“They’ve got a Champions League game the following Wednesday, so you never know if their minds will be elsewhere.”
Boyce’s place in Latics legend is also assured, as the man who led the team out for the cup final and the first man up the steps to collect the trophy after the game.
It was a fitting reward for an unassuming player who has given sterling service since joining from Crystal Palace for just £1million in the summer of 2006.
And despite a long and distinguished career, the 34-year-old acknowledges the events of May 11, 2013 will live long in the memory.
“We’re looking forward to the game because we’ve obviously got great memories of playing against them,” Boyce added.
“It’ll be a great occasion, a great day, and we at this club know more than anyone that anything is possible – we just have to believe.
“We’re playing a Premier League team – where we feel we should be, and where we want to be next season.
“And we’ll go there determined to do justice to ourselves, determined to get a result, determined to stay in the cup.”
EIGHT-PAGE FA CUP SPECIAL IN THE WIGAN EVENING POST (FRIDAY) ...