Dave Whelan insists a return to the Premier League is more important than defending the FA Cup to Wigan Athletic this season.
The Latics stunned Manchester City at Wembley last May to win the famous cup, but where then relegated from the top-flight days later. And they are on course to retain the trophy after again beating the Blues at the quarter-final stage at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday, which was an even bigger surprise than their win in the capital.
This means Wigan will return to Wembley to take on Arsenal in the semi-final, the winners of which will then play either Hull City or Sheffield United in the final. However, whilst the successful defence of the cup would be a remarkable achievement, Whelan insists the priority for Uwe Rosler and his team is a return to the Premier League.
“We took the FA Cup last year and we would love to retain it but the priority is to get promotion back in to the Premier League – that is total priority,” he told Sky Sports. “Uwe Rosler is a different manager – he is totally brilliant, his dedication to his team really comes through, you can feel it. We have got 53 games this season and that is a lot of games and the priority is getting into the play-offs for promotion back into the Premier League.”
The DW Stadium side are currently in seventh position in the Championship table, just a place behind the playoff spots. However, they are level on points with sixth-place Reading, and have two games in hand which, if they were to collect maximum points from both, would see them move above Nottingham Forest into fifth position.