Wigan Athletic will compete in the UEFA Europa League for the first time in their 81-year history this evening.
There is a great sense of excitement at the Lancashire club as fans await their first taste of European football as reward for winning last season’s FA Cup.
Their opponents are the Belgian League runners up of last season SV Zulte Waregem, a team who manager Owen Coyle knows pose a dangerous threat to his Wigan side.
Speaking to the official Wigan site Coyle was quoted saying: “We’re taking on a very exciting team in Zulte Waregem, who have a host of outstanding individual players and are very much a team on the up.
“It presents a great challenge for us and a fantastic experience for everyone associated with the club to be sampling European football for the very first time”
Notable players amongst the ranks of SV Zulte Waregem include the likes of Thorgan Hazard, the younger brother of Chelsea star Eden Hazard and everyone at Wigan knows they are in for a stern test.
In preparation for the European campaign Wigan brought in 12 players over the summer, with such names as James McClean and Grant Holt adding quality and confidence to the team.
Wigan chairman Dave Whelan has also had his say on matters - and when speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, he said: "It's a great honour to be part of the European game. We've come a long way in the last 15 or 16 years from the old fourth division to be playing in Europe. It's fantastic."
Wigan are expecting over 2000 fans to make the trip over to Belgium to watch the Latics in action and they will all hope for success at the first attempt in Europe.
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