CALLUM McManaman is keeping his fingers crossed that a moment of “over-enthusiasm” has not robbed him of his Wembley dream.
The Latics youngster, making his first Premier League start, produced a sparkling display that saw him create the opening goal in Wigan’s 2-1 victory over Newcastle.
However, the major talking point after was McManaman’s lunging challenge on Massadio Haidara that saw the Toon man stretchered off with suspected knee ligament damage.
Referee Mark Halsey chose not to punish the challenge at the time, and Latics will be hoping that the match report he submits today will make no further mention of the incident.
The worst-case scenario would be a three-match ban – the final game of which would be the FA Cup semi-final against Millwall on April 13.
Roberto Martinez was quick to defend his man after the game, and put the incident – which sparked an ugly melee at half-time – down to youthful exuberance.
“Remember Callum was making his full debut in the Premier League and, as a young man, you know you are going to give your life for everything,” said Martinez.
“I haven’t seen it, but I believe he gets the ball and then it’s a bad challenge.
“No one wants to see that, but I guarantee that is just a striker trying to win the ball over-enthusiastically.
“He has not got a nasty bone in him and he is not bad-intentioned.
“Unfortunately it was a poor tackle, and enthusiasm probably threw him into that position.
“Callum gets the ball. He (Halsey) is looking at the incident, where the ball is and where the ball is hitting.
“When you get the ball and then there is a follow-up it is very difficult for a panel to punish that.”