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FA Cup can make careers

5 December 2013

Wesolowski on last season's exploits

James Wesolowski is convinced Latics' players will be hungry for success in Saturday's FA Cup with Budweiser, second-round tie against Mansfield Town at Boundary Park.

The midfield man (pictured) says his team mates are aware of the potential rewards of victory, both for the players and the club.

Wesolowski, a key figure in Latics' FA Cup runs of the last two seasons and last season's progress to the last 16, said: "The FA Cup can make a player's career - just ask Matt Smith after what happened to him last season.

"We all knew he had ability, but he made a name for himself in the cup and got his rewards with a move in the summer to Leeds United."

Wesolowski believes that in itself ought to provide motivation for the players, even though it is a new-look side.

Only six of the 18 players who featured in the second-round victory against Doncaster Rovers last season remain at Boundary Park.

Wesolowski and Jonathan Grounds are likely to be the only two survivors from the side which kicked off against Doncaster.

He continued: "We reached the fifth round last season which was a great achievement.

"It would be great for the new boys if we could do something similar this season.

"Many of the players may not have been here last season, but they certainly know about our cup exploits as there are pictures of those games around the ground."

Wesolowski is aware of the importance of the FA Cup to Latics in the last two seasons, especially the financial rewards.

He won't be underestimating Mansfield because he knows from his own experience with Latics that the underdog cannot be dismissed.

"Mansfield will be tough as they are a physical side and similar in many ways to the way Bradford City played here last Sunday," he said.

Wesolowski added: "Every round of the cup is important and there is probably a different mindset to league games.

"The extra incentive of beating Mansfield is the chance of drawing a big side in the third round as we have done in the last two seasons.

"We need to put aside the pressure of winning and go out, relax and enjoy our football."

Wesolowski has great memories of the cup runs of the last two seasons.

He said: "It has been great to have four games against Premier League clubs, especially as two have been against Liverpool, team I have supported since I was a boy.

"And to beat Liverpool here last season was one of the best moments of my career along with Peterborough winning promotion to the Championship in the League One play-off final.

"I have the shirts of Luis Suarez and Phil Neville from those games against Liverpool and Everton as a reminder."

Wesolowski says he has detected a change in the atmosphere at Boundary Park this week.

He said: "I have noticed there has been a bit more of a buzz about the place as it is a cup tie on Saturday.

"I know the league is massive and our priority, but fans are excited because it the FA Cup.

"And that excitement has no doubt been heightened by what we have achieved in the competition in the last two seasons."

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