With the Premier League (quite obviously) a massive priority, Latics made eight changes to the starting lineup for this ‘big’ local derby (as the Wigan Evening Post termed it), and they don’t come much bigger than Bolton. Well, maybe Preston. Or any of the Manchester Clubs. In terms of match practice, anyway, today’s game was a useful opportunity to blood some youngsters and new boys.
Most notably, Callum McManaman assumed the centre forward position, reprising his role from the Third Round tie at Hull. Diame, too, returned in the centre of midfield, as did James McArthur, who this week hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons. You could say he was lucky not to hit anything else, but that would be somewhat irrelevant to today’s tie. McCarthy, Rodallega, N’Zogbia and a whole host of others were rested for the even bigger game against West Brom at the Hawthorns on Tuesday evening.
Wigan were slow to get off the mark and came under immediate pressure, Johan Elmander putting the ball over the bar via a Gary Caldwell –returning after a one-match ban– block after just ten seconds of the game. Very soon after, Victor Moses, also back in the side after a lengthy injury layoff, found himself through with a superb chance but only succeeded in finding the side netting. Bit of a dodgy moment for the Trotters, but a slightly rusty Moses was always going to struggle to put the ball in from such a narrow angle.
The visitors were looking a bit nervy, especially Adrian Lopez, facing Premier League opposition for the first time. But things settled down at the back as Victor Moses set about looking to make inroads, creating a couple of good chances and squeezing out the odd corner. In a good spell of pressure from Latics, Momo Diame won his side a free kick just yards from the Bolton area, the resulting Jordi Gomez shot easily saved by Jaaskelainen. Just seconds later, McManaman found himself with a superb chance created by Moses, but a fantastic last-ditch Robinson block thwarted his efforts to keep the score at 0-0.Bolton, FA Cup, Report