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FA Cup Preview: Manchester City v Wigan Athletic

Manchester City must ensure lightning does not strike twice when they host Wigan Athletic in a repeat of last season’s FA Cup final.

Wigan enjoyed their finest hour last May when Ben Watson’s late header at Wembley earned the Lancashire club a stunning 1-0 victory over big-spending City to lift the famous trophy for the first time, before being brought down to earth when they were relegated from the Premier League a matter of days later.

City have already thrashed their local rivals 5-0 in the League Cup earlier this season and the two sides lock horns once again at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup this Sunday.

Manuel Pellegrini’s side added one trophy to their cabinet last weekend when they beat Sunderland 3-1 in the League Cup final and can move a step closer to winning another by making it a miserable return to the club for Wigan manager Uwe Rosler.

The German was a big fans’ favourite during his playing days at City, scoring 50 goals during a four-year spell at the club in the 1990s.

There will, however, be no room for sentiment when the former Brentford boss attempts to mastermind a stunning win for his promotion-chasing Championship side against his former club to secure another trip to Wembley.

Rosler, who was named manager of the month for February on Friday, said: “My first reaction (following the draw) was to ban all talk of that game. We started talking about this game this week. It was important to focus on the league.

“We go into the game with no pressure whatsoever. The pressure lies on City. We already achieved a wonderful cup run. Being in the sixth round of the FA Cup has only happened in the third time in the history of the football club.

“And doing that on the back of last year’s win made it even more special. We overcame big hurdles and now the hurdle is very big, but that also means there is a great challenge in front of us, for me as a manager, but also for my players to measure yourself against world-class players.”

Wigan, who have beaten top-flight sides Cardiff City and Crystal Palace en route to the last eight, have moved into the top six in the second tier on the back of a run of four consecutive victories and have also won their last four away matches in all competitions.

On-loan midfielder Nick Powell (hamstring) is not expected to feature and Wembley hero Watson will play no part as he is a long-term absentee due to a knee injury, but the midfielder was this week awarded a new one-year contract.

Scott Carson (thigh), Gary Caldwell (calf) and Shaun Maloney (hip) are also expected to remain on the sidelines.

Martyn Waghorn, Ryan Tunnicliffe and Rob Kiernan are cup-tied, but Callum McManaman (ankle) could return.

City boss Pellegrini will have one eye on Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League last-16 clash at Barcelona, when his side have the major task of trying to overturn a 2-0 deficit from the first leg.

The Chilean is expected to make changes, but he will not be able to call upon Stevan Jovetic (hamstring) and Matija Nastasic (knee).

Fri 7 March, 2014
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