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McClean's net gains


JAMES McCLEAN was the hero for Wigan as his goal – the first of his Wigan career – sent the FA Cup holders into the next round of the competition at the expense of Crystal Palace.

McClean had failed to score in 29 games for the Latics since his move from Sunderland, but the former Derry City man popped up 12 minutes from time to net the crucial goal in a 2-1 win over Palace.

"Thankfully, James scored the winning goal and he played well, as did all of our wide players. Together with Callum McManaman, the pair gave us great momentum going forwards and looked a constant threat," said Wigan boss Uwe Rosler.

"James deserved that goal for his efforts and it will do his confidence a lot of good.

"Overall, I think we should all be very happy with how we attacked and overcame a Premier League side, something which should stick in the memory.

"I've really enjoyed our home games and the atmosphere our fans have created, which has been fantastic.

"Now we need to go to Middlesbrough tomorrow night and make them proud of their team once again."

Championship club Wigan have already played 36 times this season and another cup run could be seen as detrimental to their bid to return to the top flight, which remains the main priority at the DW Stadium.



However, their exploits at Wembley last May are still fresh in fans' minds and Rosler, who this week brought in Chelsea's Josh McEachran on loan, is confident they have a big enough squad to try to continue the club's love affair with the FA Cup.

"We have 21 games left in the league, plus we're still in the Cup – which we're very happy with," he said. "There's a lot to play for and I think we needed to bring in bodies and quality to achieve our goals."

The ex-Brentford boss has been a strong advocate of squad rotation, which he has had to be with Wigan playing at least twice a week in all but two of the weeks since he was appointed on December 7.

That policy meant Republic of Ireland international James McClean missed out against Doncaster, who beat Rosler's side 3-0 last Saturday in the Championship.

But, restored to the starting line-up against Palace, the 24-year-old winger set up Ben Watson's opener before scoring the winner.

It was his first official goal for the club he signed for from Sunderland in the summer after a strike at Sheffield Wednesday in December ultimately did not count when the contest was abandoned.

Rosler added: "He wasn't in the squad against Doncaster and he responded very well.

"He had a very good game; he was a threat throughout the 90 minutes. He has a very good energy level and he can play at 90 minutes for a high-tempo.

"I'm happy for him, I think this goal will give him confidence. His general overall play will give him confidence. He played against a very good overall defender in (Adrian) Mariappa and I really like him."



On an afternoon shorn of a real cup shock, Palace's defeat to a side in a lower division ended up being the most surprising result.

Eagles boss Tony Pulis argued the team he selected showed how much he valued the FA Cup.

"We're disappointed that we have not got something out of the game," he said.

"We came to have a go and to try and win a game of football. We showed Wigan a lot of respect."