McArthur excited by new FA Cup test

Wigan's James McArthur in action at Derby County
Wigan's James McArthur in action at Derby County

JAMES McArthur insists Wigan Athletic will not be surrendering their FA Cup crown without a fight.

Latics entertain League One side MK Dons tomorrow at the DW in a third-round encounter, the first defence of the cup they won so dramatically last May at Wembley.

And McArthur admits he is still coming to terms with a year that saw Latics lift the FA Cup before suffering relegation from the Premier League just three days later.

“It’s a year since we started our FA Cup campaign last season, and none of us had any idea what the future was going to hold,” he told the Evening Post.

“Obviously it was an amazing year with the FA Cup win, but it was soured a bit by the disappointment of getting relegated.

“That is something we can put right this year, and fortunately we have put ourselves back in the position of challenging for the play-offs with a good recent run.

“From there, as we proved last year, anything can happen.”

Latics will make changes for the cup-tie after a gruelling schedule over the festive programme.

But McArthur says whichever players take to the field in a blue-and-white shirt will be up to the challenge.

“All of our focus of late has obviously on the league games over the festive period, but now we can focus on the FA Cup,” he added.

“And it’s a big chance for us to progress to the next round of a competition we know very well.

“MK Dons are a good footballing side who are doing well this year in League One. Hopefully we can make our way through to the next round.

“The main goal for us all has to be to get back into the Premier League, but we want to do well in the cup as well.

“Obviously you want to win every game you play, no matter the opposition and the competition. We need to keep the winning momentum going, we need to keep our unbeaten home record going which will stand us in good stead for the run-in.

“Winning is a good habit to get into – the more wins you put together the more ‘normal’ the feeling becomes.”