Manchester United v Wigan Athletic

Bruce to stick with winning formula at OT

January 14, 2009

Wigan Athletic manager Steve Bruce will reward the players who snatched an injury-time winner against Tottenham Hotspur at the weekend by naming the same XI against Manchester United on Wednesday night.

Bruce kept faith with his starting line-up for the entire match against Spurs and was rewarded when Honduran left-back Maynor Figueroa headed the only goal in the 91st minute.

He will now repay the players for their unstinting determination by sending them out at Old Trafford with instructions to give it a go against the Barclays Premier League champions.

"I would have liked to have gone [to Old Trafford] on a Saturday having had five or six days to prepare," said Bruce.

"You can't do much preparation when you have played on the Sunday and you play Manchester United on the Wednesday.

"You hope mentally they are right and ready for the challenge.

"I think it would be unfair of me to try to give players a rest at Old Trafford. If you have anything about you, you want to play.

"If the manager came to me and said, after beating Tottenham, 'By the way, I'm going to rest you at Old Trafford' I would be trying to rip his head off.

"I would have thought the players who performed so admirably would be the ones performing at Old Trafford."

Despite winning six of the last seven league matches Bruce is under no illusions about the task ahead.

Wigan have never beaten United in seven league and cup meetings and Bruce has yet to taste success against his former club as a manager.

"It is great a club like Wigan can to go to Old Trafford," said the Latics boss.

"I'm hoping the likes of Wilson (Palacios), Antonio (Valencia), (Amr) Zaki and (Emile) Heskey go and really enjoy the challenge of Old Trafford."

Bruce also spoke of his delight at securing a work permit for Colombia striker Hugo Rodallega, who is expected to join up with the club next week once he has completed all his paperwork and passed a medical.

"I am sure he will not only be a good player for Wigan but he will enhance the Premier League as well," he said of the 23-year-old, who has been signed for £4.5million from Mexican club Necaxa.

"He is a South American with some flair and is an exciting signing for us."

Bruce, however, does not expect to see the best of the player for some time and warned fans not to expect the instant success seen when Amr Zaki began his season-long loan in August with nine goals in his first 13 matches.

"The Mexican season has finished so we have to assess his fitness but it is an ideal time to bring someone in with the form of the team," he added.

"You want them to hit the ground running straightaway - that is always a bonus.

"If you can do something like Zaki did and take the place by storm fantastic."