James: Latics can beat United
Reece James is backing his Wigan Athletic team-mates to spring an FA Cup shock at his old club Manchester United this weekend.
The 23-year-old made his return this week for the Development Squad after over a year out with a serious ankle problem.
Sadly there’s next to no chance of him being anywhere near fit to make an emotional return at Old Trafford, but he has faith in his Latics colleagues to give a good account of themselves on the big stage.
“All the lads are buzzing for the game, especially with the run of form we’ve been on,” James told the Evening Post.
“Confidence is high, even in training there’s a feel-good factor, and it’s good to see.
“This club’s shown before what can happen in the FA Cup, and they can go all the way.
“We’ve got nothing to lose, everything to gain, and if we can stick to the game-plan we’ll give ourselves every chance.”
James worked with Warren Joyce at United before the player joined Latics in the summer of 2015.
And he says the way Joyce has adapted to life as a first-team manager should give added reason for optimism.
“I’ve obviously worked with him before, and I told the lads he’d be a brilliant manager and a brilliant coach for us,” James revealed.
“He’s doing that already, the players he’s brought in have strengthened the squad, and the decision to bring Sam Morsy back has proved inspired as well.
“It was a tough start to the season for everyone at the club.
“Obviously now the new gaffer’s come in, and he’s got everyone drilled the way he wants us.
“It was always going to take time – it takes time for any manager coming in to a new club to get things going.
“But from the football we’re seeing at the moment, it’s obvious the improvements we’re making, progressive strides, and hopefully that will continue.”
James successfully negotiated 45 minutes on his comeback against Burnley on Tuesday, and he admits he can’t wait to get in and around the first team again.
“It’s brilliant to come back in to a side that’s winning,” he added. “On the flip side, it also makes it that little bit harder for me to get back in to the first team.
“But all I can do is keep working hard in training and then hope to get the chance at the end of the week.”