Although perhaps not as glamorous a draw as its counterpart on Sunday, Wigan’s encounter with Millwall has serious ramifications and has raised equally serious talking points in its build up. For Millwall, Tuesday’s home defeat by Sheffield Wednesday promptly halted Kenny Jackett’s side’s push away from the drop zone after an unbeaten run of five games. Before they kick off at Wembley, they could be just two points from safety.
Wigan’s Wembley visit could also act as a respite from their struggle to retain Premier League status. Shaun Maloney’s last, last gasp equaliser at QPR stretched their unbeaten run to four, a run which started with the Latics’ convincing victory at Everton which booked their place in the last four. The club has since attracted criticism after their chairman, Dave Whelan, called for a minute’s silence to mark the passing of Margaret Thatcher, as well as because the Latics have been forced to send back 10,000 unsold tickets. Their manager, Roberto Martinez, has defended the club’s supporters, however, calling them “incredible”.
Both sides’ last visit to a domestic final ended in convincing defeats at the hands of Manchester United. Both Martinez and Jackett will know that Manchester United will not be waiting in the final if they can win on Saturday, with only the small prospect of either Manchester City or Chelsea between them and FA Cup glory.
KICK-OFF: Saturday, 5.15pm
PAST THREE MEETINGS…
Wigan 2 (Ellington, Roberts) Millwall 0, Championship, March 2005
Millwall 0 Wigan 2 (McCulloch, Roberts), Championship, August 2004
Wigan 0 Millwall 0, League Division One, January 2004
Millwall have failed to score in any of the last three meetings between the sides, losing two and drawing another.
The London club have only progressed from one of their four FA Cup semi-finals, against Sunderland in 2004.
This will be Wigan’s first FA Cup semi-final in the club’s history.
Wigan’s current unbeaten run, which stretches to four games, is their longest all season.
Millwall to win: 4.5
Arsenal to win: 1.86
TV: Live on ESPN at 5.15pm. Highlights on ITV 1 at 10.50pm.