JAMES McCarthy reckons reaching Wembley is the perfect reward for Wigan Athletic’s “different class” set of supporters.
Wigan’s 3-0 victory at Everton sent them through to a Wembley FA Cup semi-final against the winners of tomorrow’s quarter-final replay between Blackburn and Millwall.
And the Republic of Ireland midfielder was quick to dedicate the win to the 2,500-strong contingent that cheered them on at Goodison Park.
“It’s great for the fans that they can start planning a trip to Wembley,” McCarthy told the Evening Post.
“They were out in their numbers again at Everton, and they’ve been different class whenever we’ve needed them this year.
“In every round round of the cup they’ve made it a special atmosphere, and let us know how much they wanted to go to Wembley.
“They’ve always been there for us in the past, and we need them to stay with us for the next couple of months.
“You look at Blackburn away last year, and Blackpool away the year before – incredible support from the stands – and it inspires the players on to greater efforts.
“They’ve obviously got a trip to Wembley to look forward to, but we’ll need them over the next 10 Premier League games too if we are to stay up.”
The only downside to an historic weekend were the injuries sustained by Callum McManaman and Ryo Miyaichi.
McManaman limped off just before the interval, having scored Wigan’s second goal, to be replaced by Miyaichi for his first appearance in four months.
But the Japan winder himself had to be stretchered off after an over-zealous challenge by Kevin Mirallas sent him spiralling into the advertising hoardings.
“Callum has a swollen ankle which we’ll assess in the week,” revealed Roberto Martinez.
“It was a real shame he had to come off because he had started the game so well and scored a magnificent goal.
“Ryo picked up a very nasty knock and we’ll again look at that in depth over the next day or so. It was desperately unlucky for him, and he doesn’t deserve that for the professionalism and hard work he puts in every day.
“He felt his ankle as he fell and we will have to assess him, but he came off purely as a precaution.
“It’s not the same injury as kept him out for so long, and he should be fine.”
Miyaichi, who has made only one start for Wigan after joining on a season-long loan from Arsenal, left Goodison Park on crutches with his right foot in a protective cast, hoping that his campaign has not been given another crushing blow.
Antolin Alcaraz was also substituted in stoppage-time, but Martinez confirmed the Paraguayan was suffering only from cramp.
Meanwhile, Wigan fans will have to wait until later this week before finding out how they can get their hands on FA Cup semi-final tickets.
The semi-finals will take place on the weekend of April 13/14, but further information will only be confirmed once full discussions with the Football Association and Wembley Stadium have taken place.
Supporters wishing to register their interest for hospitality packages can call the hospitality sales team on (01942) 770400.