Wigan Athletic Wait Nervously over Callum McManaman's Horror Tackle Verdict

Danny McCannContributor IMarch 18, 2013

Callum McManaman could be missed
Callum McManaman could be missedStu Forster/Getty Images

Wigan Athletic will be waiting nervously to see if Callum McManaman will be punished following his horror challenge on Newcastle United's Massadio Haïdara during Sunday's EPL encounter.

In a recent report by the Guardian it has been confirmed that the Football Association will review TV footage of the incident at the DW stadium that left Haïdara in agony and the possibility of missing the rest of the season.

Referee Mark Halsey's view was apparently impeded and as a result no on-field action took place, much to the fury of Newcastle boss Alan Pardew and his assistant manager John Carver, who berated McManaman at half-time.

The fact that the referee didn't take any action during the game (for which he apologised to Pardew), leaves the path open for the FA to review the lunging knee-high tackle and decide what, if any action there is to take.

Speaking after the game, Roberto Martinez put it down to 'youthful exuberance' and will hope the FA panel will not hand out a potential worst-case scenario of a three match ban.

Speaking on Twitter, and reported in the Metro, former Wigan player Ryan Taylor and current Newcastle defender vented his opinion on the dangerous challenge saying "it’s the definition of a ‘s***house tackle'."

Wigan chairman Dave Whelan, talking to BBC Radio 5 Live, defended the striker; saying there is no malice in him and that these things happen in football.

Whelan famously had his leg broken in a similar tackle that ended his playing career prematurely in the 1960 FA Cup final while playing for Blackburn. 

A retrospective ban could cause huge problems for Roberto Martinez's team as McManaman has arguably been Latics' best player in the last few games and has certainly been one of the main catalysts for their astonishing FA Cup run.

He scored a crucial second goal against Everton, the team he was released from as a 16-year-old, to reach the semifinals of the competition for the first time in their history and was the star of the show in the quarterfinal one-sided match against Huddersfield, scoring one and assisting another.

McManaman's cup form led to Martinez handing him his first EPL start and he carried on where he left off, supplying the cross that led to Jean Beausejour's opener against the Toon.

Unfortunately, the dangerous tackle overshadowed what was a much-needed win for Latics who triumphed 2-1 thanks to a 90th minute winner from Kone, who scored his ninth EPL goal of the season.

McManaman was substituted in the second half, maybe to protect him from possible retaliation, but up to that point he had been a constant threat to Newcastle.

With Latics still in the relegation zone and three points from safety, the 21-year-old attacking midfielder will be needed and has emerged as a first-team player on the back of his good form.

He brings pace to the side, which is one of the things that Latics have struggled with this season.  His direct approach has caused defenders to panic and he has backed that up with a few goals in recent games. 

If he receives a potential three-game ban he would miss two league games as well as the FA cup semifinal; and Latics need all the firepower they can get if they are to pull off another miracle escape.

Martinez has recently been adopting a 3-4-3 formation and McManaman has fitted nicely into the front three attack which saw him accompany Arouna Kone and Shaun Maloney.

The former England under-20 starlet has the potential to step up and be the game changer in the same way that Victor Moses (now with Chelsea) and before that Charles N'Zogbia (now at Aston Villa) were able to conjure up sterling displays that helped Latics avoid the drop in the last two seasons.

For Wigan, it would be very disappointing to have McManaman's momentum stalled temporarily.  Having scored three times in cup competitions this season and with his confidence sky-high, he would have backed himself to get one or two in the EPL.

Wigan have nine EPL fixtures remaining and face the prospect of a final-game-of-the-season fight with fellow strugglers Aston Villa.

Martinez's men next face Norwich in the EPL after the international break and will look to record only their fourth home victory, followed a week later by a trip to Queens Park Rangers in another relegation battle.