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Paul Cook: Wigan win over weakened West Ham would not be a giant-killing

Hammers expected to make changes for FA Cup clash with vital Premier League match against Crystal Palace around the corner.

Wigan boss Paul Cook feels it will not be a “giant-killing act” if his men beat a weakened West Ham side.

The Sky Bet League One leaders host the Hammers in the fourth round of the FA Cup on Saturday.

The likes of youngsters Reece Burke, Reece Oxford, Josh Cullen and Antonio Martinez are set to feature for the visitors, who face Crystal Palace in the Premier League three days later and have eight senior players unavailable through injury.

The quartet played in the third-round replay at the London Stadium that saw West Ham edge out Wigan’s third-tier rivals Shrewsbury 1-0 after extra time.

Cook – whose team reached round four via a 3-0 replay win against top-flight Bournemouth, and are unbeaten in 14 games in all competitions – said: “Certainly for us today, (and) as we are going into the game tomorrow, we don’t see it as a giant-killing act if we beat West Ham.

“That’s not being disrespectful, (it’s) because of the teams that different clubs are playing now.

“If West Ham bring a full-strength team, it would be very much a big shock, (but) the teams that these clubs are playing now, because of the Premier League and the situation there – they are not playing the first teams all the time.

“So the giant-killings are not as much now – possibly still shocks, but not as it was all those years ago.”

Cook added: “We’ve been going through the permutations of what West Ham might do with their injuries, and they can still come strong. That’s up to (West Ham boss) David Moyes, what he does.

“I’m sure David will be looking at the Tuesday night game with Crystal Palace as possibly a bigger game than the one (on Saturday), so that may influence him.

“We will certainly give West Ham the utmost respect.”

Wigan famously won the FA Cup in 2012-13 as well as suffering relegation from the Premier League, and it is often asked whether it would have been preferable to have not claimed the trophy but stayed up.

Moyes has given his view ahead of Saturday’s game, saying: “I think they would have swapped it for Premier League survival.”

When asked for his thoughts on those comments, Cook said: “I’m not going to start arguing with David Moyes.

“I think that’s a time and era. I think nowadays money has taken over football memories, and if that’s the case going forward, then it’s not great for the game is it?”

Cook has stressed moments like when Wigan pulled off their shock victory over Manchester City in the final five years ago “are what supporters live for”.

He said: “For me, I would have thought staying in the Premier League would be great, but then if you are a Wigan fan, the memories of winning an actual trophy…

“If you look now at some of the biggest teams in the country, people go a long time without winning trophies, and those moments are what supporters live for.

“I’d like a trophy – but that’s only me. It’s for fans to debate.”

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