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Last Updated: Saturday, 25 February 2006, 11:00 GMT
Roberts' countdown to Cardiff
Wigan face Manchester United in the Carling Cup final on Sunday.

Latics striker and BBC Sport columnist Jason Roberts will be giving us the exclusive lowdown throughout the week as Wigan prepare for the biggest day out in their history.

FRIDAY

Training was a good standard today - everyone is itching to get out there and show the gaffer they are worth a place in the side.

The boss has still not told us what the team is going to be yet.

Wigan striker Jason Roberts
But I'll not be knocking his door down to find out if I'm in the side. Everyone has played their part in getting us to Cardiff - even those who haven't appeared in the games.

Those that miss out will be bitterly disappointed but just being part of the squad that has got us here is something for all of us to be proud of.

We're all part of this team and friends and we all get along - that's part of the reason behind our success. It's a squad thing.

We've had a quiet day today. The squad went to the cinema to watch Lucky Number Slevin.

I don't want to spoil it for any of the readers who are planning to go and see it but I was gripped to the edge of my seat and there is a huge twist at the end.

Hopefully it could be sign of things to come this weekend.

We had a mini league on the Pro Evo computer game and as expected I came out on top.

Leighton Baines finished second and poor old Pascal Chimbonda came in dead last.

At least he's got the consolation that his new haircut is looking very cool.

THURSDAY

Now we are actually in Cardiff, you can sense the big build-up but it has been a pretty hectic day.

We trained as normal but then there was the media to sort out as well.

There are some interviews to do on a normal Thursday but there seemed a few more people with cameras around this week. Can't think why?

You just know that it is getting closer and closer and we travelled down after training, with the decision to take a plane to Cardiff not a popular one among some of the lads.

I still do not know whether the gaffer has picked the team yet
Personally, I don't mind. It's not a problem at all. For most of our long-distance away games we tend to fly.

But it's something Alan Mahon and Jimmy Bullard could certainly do without. I'm sure they are delighted to have finally got their feet back on the ground. They hate being in a plane.

The hotel seems very comfortable and, as usual, I'm sharing with Damien Francis.

He is someone I would describe as the perfect room-mate and there are none of the snoring problems I used to have with Nathan Ellington.

I'd like to think there is no problem with me as well. We tend to get on well and we both like to get up early rather than lounge about in bed before breakfast.

I cannot even lie in on a Sunday.

There is training in the morning and that is all I know. I still do not know whether the gaffer has picked the team yet. There is no indication.

We all want the lads to do well but we all want to play so it will all become apparent in the next two days.

But for now it's a bit of practise on the computer games and a nice early night. I want to be able to impress.

WEDNESDAY

We have had today off so I've been getting my stuff sorted and doing some errands as we leave for Cardiff tomorrow morning.

The suits are all sorted for the big day so I've just been getting everything else ready to go.

I can't say what we'll be wearing but take it from me it's a cheeky little number.

I had to pick up Pascal Chimbonda to take him down the road to get his hair braided.

His English is not the best so I will be looking after him. I'm like his bodyguard for the day.

We play Pro Evo and I'm ranked number one at the club - if not the UK
My haircut will only take 10 minutes but it will take Pascal about two hours. He might be planning something special, we'll have to wait and see.

Pascal's taking lessons and his English is getting better - he understands key chosen words like "day off".

We seem to manage to communicate OK as we speak the international language of football.

It might be a day off but for me it will be back on the oxygen training.

It is becoming a real chore because I have to get there at 8pm but hopefully it will all be worth it.

After that I'll probably be ready to sleep, but I might try and fit some practice in on the computer games.

I have to get myself ready for the weekend as there might be a few competitions when we get to Cardiff.

We play Pro Evo and I'm ranked number one at the club - if not the UK.

Pascal is not happy with that but he has never beaten me at Pro Evo. If he beats me in his sleep he better wake up and apologise.

Another point of contention could be the music in the dressing room.

My team-mate Leighton Baines takes care of it and we are both big fans of Arctic Monkeys and London rapper Akala.

We're going to try and get them in the dressing room, which the boys might not be happy about but we're not too bothered what they think.

Tomorrow I'll hopefully have a few tales from the training ground, where I'll be going all out to make sure I'm in the team.

TUESDAY

The manager hasn't said anything to me about whether I'm going to play on Sunday.

I don't expect to find out until the day before the match or perhaps Friday.

We're just all trying our best. This is what you want in football - everyone is eager to play in the big games so we're all wired-in in training.

The whole squad were back in training today and we played a game of possession.

We had three teams with two sides trying to keep the ball away from the other group in the middle.

My family wouldn't come unless there were cushions on the seats!
My team didn't go so well for us today - it was like a running session for us because we kept giving the ball away. Not one of my better mornings.

But you can see everyone is well up for it because it is a massive game at the weekend and everyone wants to play.

I have my little sister visiting and some close friends from London so I'm enjoying their company.

There will be a few of my family at the game and they haven't seen me play for a while, so hopefully I'll be able to get out there and show them something.

Tickets have been like gold dust but luckily I got mine sorted out straight away.

However it cost me an absolute fortune. I only had to get 10 tickets, but they are the expensive ones.

I couldn't get the cheap tickets for my family - they wouldn't come unless there were cushions on the seats!

MONDAY

Having missed the last three games I'm just really enjoying training at the moment and looking forward to seeing what's going to happen on Sunday.

Me and a few of the professionals that didn't play in Wigan's game on Sunday trained with the kids today.

We had three teams of six, with the reserves and youth-team coaches joining in and played winner stays on.

It was a lot of fun and suffice to say my team won and I was top scorer so it was a good day for me personally.

I am still match-fit and I'm in as good a shape as I'm ever going to be
I finished training at lunchtime and then I went for some oxygen training, which I will be doing all week.

The way it works is that you breathe in a lower percentage of air so your heart and lungs are working out even though your legs aren't.

A few of the boys have been doing it and I started it last week because I have not been playing recently. It's like an extra workout.

Three weeks without a game is not ideal but after playing 30-odd matches this season I am still match-fit and I'm in as good a shape as I'm ever going to be.

Besides, after playing a lot of matches I'm sure the rest has done me good.

On Thursday we go away and we'll probably be up playing computer games until one o'clock in the morning.

But until then I plan on watching some films and going to bed early.

On Monday I had some friends round and we watched the film The Girl Next Door.

It was quite funny but by Friday it will probably be more like Escape To Victory to get us in the mood.

  • Read Jason Roberts' midweek column on the BBC Sport website every week





    Links to more League Cup stories


     

  • SEE ALSO
    Roberts handed cup final lifeline
    01 Feb 06 |  Wigan Athletic


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