Confirmed: Wigan’s FA Cup hero Watson leaves

Wigan's Ben Watson

Wigan's Ben Watson

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FA Cup hero Ben Watson has today left Wigan Athletic.

The midfielder has joined Championship high-flyers Watford for the rest of the season.

Watson had a medical this morning and was registered by noon, in time to play in tomorrow’s home game against Blackpool.

The ex-Crystal Palace ace had returned from a broken leg to re-establish himself in the team before Christmas.

Watson’s contract was due to expire in the summer. Latics have allowed him to join the Hornets, who are sixth in the table, as he hopes to earn a permanent contract.

Manager Malky Mackay said: “Ben will always be a hero at this club, and rightly so.

“However, sometimes you have to make really difficult decisions in football.

“Ben is in the last six months of his contract and I need players here who are 100 per cent focused on helping us this season and beyond. We have to be realistic and do what’s best for the football club financially.

“When the move was first discussed Ben felt it would be something he would be interested in and the opportunity to move back near his family is important to him.

“We respect that, wish him all the best and thank him very much for what he has done at this club, but it’s time to move on.”

His departure will sadden fans, given his winning goal in the 2013 FA Cup Final .

Meanwhile, Mackay has revealed Hull City are one of four Premier League clubs in the pursuit of Callum McManaman.

Latics last week knocked back a £4m bid by the Baggies for him.