Wigan boss Martinez: League form will decide who plays at Wembley

The 39-year-old has insisted that the Latics' priority remains maintaining their top-flight status and has challenged his players to earn a place in the FA Cup semi-final
Wigan Athletic manager Roberto Martinez has revealed that his squad’s Premier League form will determine who plays in their FA Cup semi-final against Millwall in April.

The Latics reached the last four of the competition for the first time in their history thanks to a 3-0 win against Everton at Goodison Park, and Martinez has warned his players that they must keep their focus firmly on maintaining their Premier League status if they intend to feature his side's historic semi-final outing.

"Believe me, no-one will lose their focus here of what is the priority and that is the league," the 39-year-old told reporters.

"The moment you, as a player, lose your focus you lose any involvement in the cup so it is a very straightforward situation.

"What is important is now everyone has a unique opportunity, a great prize, to play at Wembley which is a great reward for any player in their career.

"Clearly every place is up in the air and the next three games in the league is going to be where the positions for Wembley are going to be decided.

"The best way to prepare for Wembley is with your level in the league and I don't see it as a distraction at all - I see it as an opportunity for players to be rewarded with their good form in the league. Our season, in many respects, starts now."

Martinez also says that this season's relegation battle is already the toughest he has had to face in his four years at the DW Stadium.

"I do see it as the strongest fight out of the last four I've been involved in," he added.

"Year after year that fight becomes harder because teams are more prepared and stronger to cope with the demands in that final push.

"Clearly 40 points will give you safety but from that point down you are relying on very small margins like goal difference.

"The teams in the bottom three I don't think are going to stay there, there will be other teams involved and it will go down to the final day once more.

"It is impossible to tell now because the games left are between teams involved in the bottom eight and they will have a massive bearing on the final points tally needed."