Cook: It’s a shame Burke can’t face us

Luke Burke
Luke Burke
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While members of the Fylde camp were celebrating when they were drawn to face Wigan Athletic in tonight’s FA Cup second round, one player had mixed emotions.

Luke Burke tweeted ‘Can I play for both teams?’ as the defender - on loan at Fylde - faced the prospect of his team-mates facing his parent club.

The 19-year-old joined the National League club in August in order to gain experience during a stay which is scheduled to last until January.

But he won’t be running out against Latics - despite manager Paul Cook insisting he would be happy to see Burke line-up against them.

Cook said: “It’s probably quite disappointing he can’t play against us really, if the truth be told.

“They’ve gone there for experience and to play, and what better game could you have then this?

“I understand the logic of why he can’t play, of course I do. It wouldn’t look great on me or the club to see Luke celebrating for the wrong reasons.

“But when you break it down, that’s part of young pros gaining experience and that’s what we sent Luke out for. Unfortunately for Luke he won’t get that (tonight).”

The BBC cameras will be at Mill Farm, and many viewers will be hoping for a shock, and Cook knows all too-well such giant-killings are a big part of the Cup’s appeal.

He was part of the Third Division Wigan side which reached the quarter-finals in the 1986-87 competition, losing 2-0 to Leeds in the last eight, but he says changes over the past 30 years make the outlook very different.

“It epitomises everything that’s good about the FA Cup,” he said.

“The reason the cameras are there we all know - it’s not to watch us win, that’s for sure!

“It’s the chance there could be a giant-killing.

“Is it a gian- killing in today’s day and age? A Conference team beating a League One... I’m not so sure it is anymore. I think the games moved that forward now, teams like Fylde are very much a full-time set-up with good infrastructure.

“I think the days are gone when it is actually a giant-killing. Would it be a Cup shock? Yes, it would. Are we preparing ourselves for that? Without a shadow of a doubt.

“You can guarantee this weekend there will be results in the FA Cup that people don’t expect.

“That’s gone on through history. You can only prepare yourselves well for the game. The outcome will be what it will be.”

Cook will use his choice of line-up to dilute any suggestion Wigan’s promotion push means they’d be comfortable with a FA Cup exit though.

He will be picking a strong squad, with fans’ favourite Nick Powell in line for a return after recovering from a hamstring injury.

“We’re quite open and honest with what we’re trying to do,” he said.

“We’ll be full strength at Fylde and doing our best to get through to the third round of the Cup. If we don’t do that it won’t be through a team selection or anything like that. It will be because Fylde have beaten us and deserve to go through.”