West Ham look to avoid FA Cup banana skin at Wigan
PUBLISHED: 08:30 26 January 2018
PA Wire/PA Images
Hammers boss knows the road to Wigan's clear but Premier League is still the priority
West Ham face a second potential FA Cup banana skin when they travel to League One leaders Wigan Athletic on Saturday.
Having sneaked through against Shrewsbury Town after a replay and extra time, they will travel to the DW Stadium with a long injury list and some trepidation.
Manager David Moyes is keen for victory, but he insists that the priorities are elsewhere.
“I want to go through in the cup,” he said. “But I have always said that the Premier League is the priority.
“You can ask any club about the FA Cup and they will all say they want to win it, but the bigger picture is the finances of staying in this league are far greater than winning the cup.”
West Ham will go into the match with a string of injuries. Manuel Lanzini and Marko Arnautovic are both ruled out, although there is some better news about others.
“Marko is not as serious as Manu,” said the manager. “Marko completed the game, but he was saying to me early on that he was feeling it.
“I was just saying ‘go away Marko, go away!” he laughed. “We don’t have enough to keep saying we will take you off and the Bournemouth game was a massive one.
“Lanzini, we are a bit more worried about as he could be out for as long as six weeks, depending on how it is.”
He continued: “There are a few getting closer. Michail Antonio is doing a bit of training, so is Jose Fonte, so we are getting one or two more back, but with Premier League midweek games in January it is getting tougher.”
Neither of those two players, plus Winston Reid and Diafra Sakho will be available for Saturday, so is this another chance for some of the youngsters?
“Most of the youngsters had a chance against Shrewsbury, so I would expect a few to come in again,” said Moyes. “But if I had more senior players available, then I would probably try and play them, because I want to get through in the Cup.”
There may be a chance for Toni Martinez to show what he can do, but Moyes says he needs to see more from the Spanish striker.
“He has done ok,” said the boss. “I would like to see more of him to show that he can play at this level.
“He has shown that he can score with the under-23s, but his performances also need to show that he can be part of the team.”
With Crystal Palace coming to the London Stadium on Tuesday night, that must be the manager’s priority.
“Every competition you go in, you should attempt to try and win it, but there is a little caveat at the back of that,” he said.
“We have a big game on Tuesday night and another on Saturday. We have a lot of injuries, but I am still positive, we have a bit of momentum and I want to keep that going.”
West Ham have not won the FA Cup since 1980, while League One Wigan Athletic won the competition as recently as 2013, beating Moyes’ Everton along the way.
But the West Ham boss believes that Wigan fans would rather have stayed in the Premier League.
“If you have asked Wigan fans if they would rather have won the FA Cup or be in the Premier League still, they would go for the league,” he said.
It is unlikely that West Ham fans would agree with those sentiments. The FA Cup can never be taken away from either the Hammers or the Latics, while you can always rebuild in the Championship.
Moyes knows that he will be in for a big game on Saturday, though he is hoping that it will not be a classic cup tie with the possibility of a giant-killing.
“I had a chance to watch them and will do again before Saturday,” he said. “But no-one should be in any doubt that they are a good side.”
Saturday’s match kicks-off at 3pm.