Crystal Palace face Wigan Athletic on Saturday in what is the first ever FA Cup meeting between the sides – and only their fourth ever clash in all competitions.
Both clubs came through tricky away fixtures to claim a place in the fourth round of the competition, with Palace winning 2-0 at West Bromwich Albion, while Wigan triumphed 3-1 after extra time in a hard-fought replay at MK Dons.
The Latics are of course the current FA Cup-holders, having famously beaten Manchester City 1-0 in last May’s final at Wembley. Former Palace star Ben Watson popped up with a memorable winning goal that day – and he was also on the scoresheet the last time the two sides met, bagging a late consolation for Wigan in a 2-1 Capital One Cup defeat to the Eagles in September 2011.
They may have dropped down a league and had two changes of manager since lifting the trophy, but Wigan will be in no mood to relinquish their grip on the famous silverware without a fight. They will have to improve on their 3-0 defeat at Doncaster Rovers last timeout though if they are to knock out Tony Pulis’ men.
Palace have not featured at this stage of the tournament since the 2009/10 season, when a 2-1 victory at Wolves booked a fifth round tie with Aston Villa.
Wigan Athletic: Rosler will have to make do without Shaun Maloney (hip) and Gary Caldwell (achilles) for the tie, while Ivan Ramis is also set to miss out with a groin problem.
Wigan’s ranks have been bolstered by loan signings Nicky Maynard and Tyias Browning, who both made their debuts for the club last weekend.
The Latics also confirmed the acquisition of Chelsea's Josh McEachran on loan on Thursday - and the midfielder could go straight into the squad for the game.
Meanwhile, former Palace stars Ben Watson and Emmerson Boyce could both feature against their former club.
Crystal Palace: Paddy McCarthy is expected to make the Palace squad again as he steps up his injury comeback, having been named on the bench at West Brom in the last round.
The likes of Mile Jedinak, Joel Ward, Jason Puncheon, Cameron Jerome and Marouane Chamakh were all rested for that tie, although the latter was introduced late on to bag Palace’s all-important second goal.
Jack Hunt (broken ankle) and Glenn Murray (cruciate ligament) are still a couple of weeks away from action, while Jerome Thomas and Kagisho Dikgacoi are still suffering from calf problems, although the latter could play some part at the weekend.
Referee: Michael Jones
Assistant Referees: Michael McDonough and Ronald Ganfield
Fourth Official: Gary Sutton
|Wigan wins||Draws||Palace wins|
LAST MEETING AT THE DW STADIUM
The first and only meeting between these two sides in Lancashire came in November 2003, when they were opponents in the First Division.
Wigan ran out comprehensive 5-0 victors at the DW, which was then known as the JJB Stadium, as they began their march to promotion to the Premier League.
In a game that was shown live on Sky Sports, the hosts took an early lead when Lee McCulloch’s defence-splitting pass found Andy Liddell, who drilled home for 1-0.
Geoff Horsfield made it 2-0 just after the half hour mark and just five minutes into the second half it was three when Liddell added his second from the penalty spot.
Nathan Ellington got on the scoresheet in the 56th minute to put the result beyond any doubt, before the young striker made it 5-0 with a header 20 minutes from time.
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Wigan win: Evs
Palace win: 13/5
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