PHIL JAGIELKA has urged Everton not to miss a golden opportunity to clinch a Wembley visit by letting their guard down again against Oldham.
The Blues conceded a last minute equaliser against the Latics at Boundary Park on Saturday, forcing them to have to replay their fifth round FA Cup tie again a week on Wednesday.
With the prospect of facing Wigan in the quarter-finals and being just 90 minutes from a trip to the national stadium, England international Jagielka (pictured below, celebrating his goal) says it is essential that Everton complete the task at Goodison Park.
He said: “If we don’t get through now, then it will be an even bigger disappointment. When you look at what teams are left in there, it’s not the top six of the Premier League which is going to be making up the last eight.
“We are desperate to get in there and the manager has said that as long as we are in the draw, then we have still got a chance.
“But when we come to prepare for the game we have got to make sure we come out on top.
“There are a few more ties and we will see then who is left in it, but we are desperate to go as far as we can.
“Several of the so-called big boys have dropped by the wayside and we don’t want to be one of those teams who look at it as an opportunity missed.
“Fair play to Oldham. They had a terrific result in the last round and they have had a good result this time. But there are another 90 minutes to play and we have got to prove that we are good enough to overcome this.”
Jagielka believes that reaching Wembley again this season, which would be Everton’s third visit in five years, would be a huge achievement – but he played down suggestions that a successful cup run would be the perfect way to persuade manager David Moyes to sign a new contract at Goodison.
“Well, at the end of the day, if we do win the cup and he doesn’t sign, it will still be a fantastic feat for the players,” said the 30-year-old.
“We are a very close squad and we get on very well. As much as we go out there to do it for the manager, we do it for each other as well.
“Obviously, the fans, too. We had a good following today and the fans are brilliant, too. So there is more than one person there to play for.
“We don’t have to feel that we have to prove anything. The manager has pretty much brought every single player in, bar one or two, so we are his players.
“He has made decisions that he wants to make. He has come out in the press and said he will not sign anything until the end of the season, which is fine with us.
“Obviously, it will be nice to give him a quick reminder of how good we are by keeping this cup run going and pushing as high as we can up the Premier League.”