London: An immediate return to the Premier League remains Wigan Athletic’s priority but the FA Cup holders are determined to repeat last year’s shock final win over Manchester City when they meet in Sunday’s last-eight clash.
Wigan stunned hot favourites City 1-0 at Wembley with Ben Watson’s late header sealing the club their first major trophy.
Celebrations proved short-lived, however, when defeat by Arsenal three days later ensured Wigan became the first club to win the FA Cup and suffer relegation from England’s top flight in the same season.
After a poor start this season that cost manager Owen Coyle his job six months after replacing Roberto Martinez, Wigan have revived under former Manchester City striker Uwe Rosler and sit sixth in the Championship.
They travel to a City side who have lost one league match in 12 at the Etihad Stadium this season, having scored 43 goals in the process, and thrashed Wigan 5-0 earlier in the League Cup, a competition they won last Sunday against Sunderland.
“We are going to go there with intentions of trying to stay in the FA Cup — obviously we will try to retain it — but Manchester City will be looking for their revenge,” said Wigan chairman Dave Whelan.
“That said, our No. 1 ambition this season is promotion back to the Premier League. The FA Cup is special, but the main priority for us is the league, the finest league in the world.
“We have a great team spirit at the moment, our boys are full of confidence and hopefully we can get into the playoffs to give us a chance to return there.”
Spaniard Martinez, who left Wigan to join Everton in June, is looking to become the first manager to win the competition in consecutive seasons with different clubs.
His side face a tough away quarter final at Arsenal on Saturday and Belgium midfielder Kevin Mirallas said the match was the biggest of their season.
“Hopefully whatever the manager said to Wigan last year, he can do it again with us at Arsenal — he’s very lucky with this competition,” he told the Liverpool Echo.