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Apr 11, 2013

Boyce: Wigan not thinking of Europe

Wigan defender Emmerson Boyce said the dream of playing in Europe next season has been banished from the players mind as the club attempts to reach the FA Cup final.

• Jolly: Cup respite for Wigan

Wigan will meet Championship side Millwall at Wembley on Saturday with the winner heading for a glamour date with either Manchester City or defending champion Chelsea.

But much more is on the line for both Wigan and Millwall, with the winner of Saturday's semi-final expected to book a place in next season's Europa League, no matter the outcome of the final in May.

City and Chelsea, second and third respectively in the Premier League, are expected to book their European spots through their lofty league positions.

But Boyce said he and his team-mates have dismissed their European dreams for the time being, lest they distract them from the task at hand.

"[Europe] is in the back of our minds but we've just got to concentrate on Saturday's game against Millwall because we don't want to start talking about potentially Europe and then we fall at this hurdle," said Boyce.

"If we do get into Europe it will again be a massive, massive achievement for a small club like Wigan."

Wigan manager Roberto Martinez is expected to name Boyce as captain for the FA Cup semi-final clash, a reward for the club's longest-serving player.

And the Barbados international said it would be dream come true to lead the Latics into battle, a dream he thought would never become reality.

"If it is the case (being handed the captaincy) then it will be a proud moment for me," he said. "My family will be in the crowd and to lead the team out would be a special honour.

"Wigan gave me a chance to get back into the Premier League when I was at Palace. The club's come a long way. I've seen a lot of players come and go.

"We always seem to be avoiding relegation every year but to be going to Wembley is going to be a proud moment for me as well as the club. I"m just happy to be part of it.

"You always have a dream of playing at Wembley. I thought that moment had passed but always hold onto your dreams and sooner or later they may come true. Thankfully mine's come true."

It is also a dream come true for Wigan chairman Dave Whelan, whose own football career ended in the FA Cup final of 1960 when he suffered a broken leg.

And Boyce said having the 'positive' Whelan around the club was motivating the squad to make the most of their shot at FA Cup glory.

"The chairman's put so much into the club and for him to lead us out is going to be great day for the club all over. I don't think anyone around here has got a bad word to say about him," Boyce said.

"He comes into the changing room, he's always positive, always tries to encourage you, and he always tells us to enjoy football because of what happened to his career. I know it"s going to be a proud moment for him."

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