No side taking part in the first round of the Emirates FA Cup have a better recent pedigree in the competition than our hosts Wigan.
They won the 2013 competition by beating Manchester City 1-0 in the final thanks to a stoppage time goal from Ben Watson and the following year, having been relegated from the Premier League three days after their Wembley triumph, they lost in the semi-finals to Arsenal.
Last season the Latics beat Nottingham Forest 2-0 in the third round while they were a Championship club before going out 4-0 at Old Trafford against Manchester United in the last 32
Creating a stir
Paul Cook left Portsmouth, having guided them to promotion from League Two last season, in the summer to take over at the DW Stadium. It was a move that might not have gone down well at Fratton Park but Wigan fans are loving life under their new boss.
Wigan are second in League One and have lost twice in the League, away to holders Shrewsbury and Peterborough. Last Saturday they were held to a 0-0 draw by Blackburn Rovers.
One name familiar to Reds fans in the Wigan squad is defender Nathan Byrne. The 25-year-old played 12 games and scored once against Carlisle United whilst on loan to us from Spurs in 2012-13. He has subsequently played for Swindon and Wolves before joining Wigan in 2016.
The Wigan squad also includes Alex Bruce, son of Aston Villa manager Steve, and Nick Powell, who scored at the Checkatrade Stadium in 2012 while he was a Crewe player. Goalkeeper Christian Walton is on loan from Brighton & Hove Albion.
Paul Cook will not make the sort of wholesale changes he has in other cup competitions this season. Speaking ahead of the tie he said: “I wouldn’t say it’ll be a full first team on show at the minute, because we’ve had a few lads carrying injuries at the minute.
“But it’s certainly competition we want to do well in, make no mistake about that. While we might change one or two – and we’ll have a look at that this week – there won’t be 10 or 11 changes as has been the case in other competitions. No chance at all...it’ll be one or two lads who have been knocking on the door, wanting to play, at most.”
Reds fans are welcome to drink in the Red Robin pub, a two-minute walk from the DW Stadium, prior to the game. Advance ticket sales close at 4pm today (Friday) but you can buy on the day as well.
Pictured: Former Reds loanee Nathan Byrne will be in Wigan’s defence tomorrow