Apart from the final itself, is there any more exciting weekend than the third round of the FA Cup, especially if your team happens to win?

It's a weekend where fans of clubs as far apart as Carlisle and Brighton can share a dream, it's a weekend in which the playing field between sides with as vastly differing fortunes as Dover Athletic and Manchester City is, for 90 minutes of distance run, levelled.

It's a weekend tailor-made for the fans. From the moment the draw is made - this year by the musicians Noel Gallagher and Serge from Kasabian - we dare to believe. We can almost smell the tang of hot-dogs along Wembley Way or posing for photos in front of the majestic Wembley archway. And although theLatics have never won the FA Cup, we do have a tradition as a good cup side.

Older fans will remember some dramatic cup runs and giant-killing acts in the 1970s, as well as two Football League trophy wins in the 1980s. More recently, we were finalists in the Carling Cup, when we faced Manchester United in Cardiff. What better than a decent FA Cup run with which to alleviate the anxiety of our relegation struggle this season?

And, for once this season - maybe it was the magic of the cup at work; some sprinkling of dreamy fairy dust - Wigan actually lived up to expectations, nay, exceeded them. For the first time, we scored three goals, and looked good for them.

We faced the Tigers of Hull City at the KC Stadium, with Martinez selecting a number of squad players alongside first-team regulars (Callum McManaman scored his first goal for the club in the game) but it was Mohamed Diame, nominally a defensive midfielder, who proved himself the hero of the day by bagging himself a brace.

Blast from the past Nick Barmby ensured Hull made a game of it by scoring twice himself, but the Latics held on, to earn ourselves a tough tie in the Fourth Round where we'll face Lancashire rivals Bolton at the Reebok Stadium in one of a large number of all Premier League clashes.

Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.

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