Wigan close in on another amazing FA Cup feat
Wigan Athletic pulled off one amazing record in last year's FA Cup - albeit an unwanted one. The Latics became the first club to win the competition and be relegated from the top division in the same season. Now a year on, they are threatening to make history again.
West Bromwich Albion take pride of place among the clubs who have won the FA Cup from the second tier. In 1931 the Baggies not only won the so-called "All-Birmingham Cup Final" but they managed to get promotion in the same campaign.
None of the other seven Division Two Cup winners were able to combine the two feats but Wigan are in with a chance and if Uwe Rosler's side do get there, they will make another unique addition to FA cup folklore.
Because if Wigan are going to do their "Double", they will have to do it by winning two Wembley finals - the FA Cup and the Play-off Final.
Wigan's potential schedule is to complete the Championship play-off semi on May 14 or 15 and then be at Wembley for the FA Cup Final on May 17. A week later they would be back for the Championship decider on May 24.
Now a lot has to happen before this unique Double is completed. Arsenal have to be overcome in this weekend's FA Cup semi-final and Wigan have to consolidate a position in the play-off berths. Tuesday's defeat to Millwall was a blow but they still have a six-point cushion with five games to go.
Arsenal remain hot favourites to take the semi-final, but a head of steam has developed in Lancashire as Wigan have defended their FA Cup with magnificent resolve and battered their way into contention in the league.
Rosler's side have no need to fear anyone after the cup results they have pulled off last year and in this campaign. After taking out Manchester City they are not likely to freeze against Arsenal and it is the Gunners who have everything to lose.
The pressure for Wigan is to secure the play-off berth and then prevail in the three play off games. The FA Cup is still a release for their players and so the amazing return to the showpiece is still a live possibility.
FA Cup winners and promotion via the play-offs? It still looks a bit of a fantasy but then so did Wigan winning the Cup last year - and what were the odds on the Latics reaching the FA Cup semi-finals two years on the bounce?
Arsenal and their fans have all the worrying to do this weekend. For Wigan and their supporters it's another glorious chapter in their recent history and one to be enjoyed. Their cup exploits have to end sometime, but maybe not just yet.
Calling all Wigan fans: Do you think you can achieve the Double? If you were given the choice of either winning the FA Cup again or gaining promotion what would you choose? Whatever your views, we'd love to hear from you.
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