Martinez hails his younger players

Mark Walker

WIGAN'S fringe players have played themselves into contention for the rest of the season after turning in several class acts in their 4-1 FA Cup win at Huddersfield.

Manager Roberto Martinez made six changes for yesterday's fifth-round tie, but Wigan were still too strong for a home side whose players were hoping to impress new boss Mark Robins in his first game in charge.

Latics winger Callum McManaman (21), a distant cousin of former Liverpool wide man Steve McManaman, striker Arouna Kone and Spanish defender Roman Golobart were among those who returned to the side and were all outstanding for the Premier League strugglers.

Former Everton trainee McManaman scored a fine opener and helped set up both the second for Kone and James McArthur's brilliant strike.

Kone, recently back from African Cup of Nations duty with the Ivory Coast, slammed home an excellent fourth for Wigan in the closing stages to underline their dominance after Huddersfield substitute Lee Novak's header had offered his side brief hope.


When questioned about his changes Martinez, whose side reached the quarter-finals for the first time since 1987, said: "If that's a weak squad I should play it every week in the league.

"This was not a weakened side. It was a younger side with less experience, but it was a side desperate to help the group and play more regularly.

"If we were top four in the league I'd say making changes is the wrong thing to do, but when you're in the position we're in with the points tally we've got, nobody's got a place guaranteed.

"These games are fantastic for anyone at the club to show what they can do.

"When you make six changes and you see them playing with that cohesion and that understanding, it's time to consider them strongly to play in the next game."

Wigan have been handed a fourth successive away draw in this year's FA Cup, with a last-eight tie at either Everton or Oldham on March 9 or 10.