Saturday 28 January 2017

Match preview: United v Wigan Athletic

A familiar face will return to Old Trafford with the visit of Championship strugglers Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup fourth round.

Warren Joyce served United with distinction when he served as manager of our Reserve side,  unearthing and nurturing many gems along the way - including current young homegrown talents Jesse Lingard and Paul Pogba. 

He was appointed Latics manager in November after six years with the Reds and, after a slow start, has lifted them out of the bottom three after back-to-back league wins

Wigan provided the opposition in Jose Mourinho's first match in charge in a July friendly and these two North-West rivals meet again for a place in the last 16. 

Sergio Romero will start in goal for United, Luke Shaw could return after a 12 game absence and Eric Bailly, back from AFCON, is also in contention.

Anthony Martial is set to feature after recent speculation about his future and Jose has challenged his young striker to keep his place for Wednesday's League meeting with Hull City.

The boss explained: 

"It's another difficult game against Wigan and I will make changes - I will play Romero and Martial and if he plays magnificent then he will play in the next match - it is simple.
"We will give some opportunities, some fresh legs to the team and I hope that we can do it. 
"I want to treat the FA Cup in a serious way, the players are fresh and preparing with extra motivation for Warren and his players."

Wigan's former United players Nick Powell and Reece James will both miss out through injury. 

Joyce's side have struggled for goals so far this term but the chance of a major upset against the holders may re-ignite the fire inside last season's top scorer Will Grigg (all together now...)

Joyce said:

"It is a game I'm very much looking forward to, both for me personally and for my team. 
"We'll prepare as we do for any other game but we can play without pressure and hopefully give it a real go.
"We know that United have a world class team with a world class manager and a squad of very, very good players.
"There are certain tick boxes for the X factor players and some - like Paul and Marcus (Rashford) tick every box.
"Rashford is a very, very good footballer and a brilliant goalscorer - he's in the same category as Pogba - clever, quick, skilful and very tough." 

Both sides saw off further Championship opposition to reach round four as United beat Jaap Stam's Reading 4-0 and the Latics enjoyed a 2-0 win over divisional rivals Nottingham Forest. 

Form guide: United W W W D D L Wigan L D L W W W 
Match odds: United 11-2 Draw 15-2 Wigan 50/2 
Referee: Neil Swarbrick 

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