Owen Coyle and Emmerson Boyce have spoken of the pride and prestige that awaits Wigan Athletic in tomorrow’s opening fixture of the 2013/14 UEFA Europa League against SV Zulte Waregem.
Both were present for the game’s official pre-match press conference at the Jan Breydel Stadion on Wednesday evening before the team’s pre-match training session at the venue which will host Thursday night’s game.
On his team and their expectations, Coyle said:
“Ideally we would have liked more preparation time for the game, which is in the middle of a very busy fixture schedule.
“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.
“When you consider the history of our club and the incredible rise through the different levels of the game it’s culminated in this achievement through winning the FA Cup last season, and it’ll be great to see over 2,500 fans inside the stadium to share this next memory.
“In this financial climate, for us to be bringing so many fans over for the game is an outstanding achievement and we have to make sure we’re competitive on the day and do our best to give them something to be proud of.”
As the most experienced member of the squad and one man who knows what the club means to the fans better than most, Emmerson Boyce gave his thoughts ahead of the big game:
“We want to thank the huge number of fans who are coming over for the game. They’ve stuck by us through thick and thin and have experienced so many ups and downs long before my time at the club.
“This adventure is a reward for them, for their efforts in making this club as special as it is and we as players have to do everything we can to try and send them home with a smile on their face.
“From a personal point of view it will of course be a great honour for me to lead out the team on such an historic occasion.
“We’ll play to win, and just as no one expected us to achieve what we did in the FA Cup last season we’ll see what we can do in this competition to leave our mark, anything is possible.”