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Match Previews


27 January 2017

Team news, facts and figures, head-to-head and connection ahead of the visit to Old Trafford.

  • Wigan Athletic v Manchester United match preview.
  • Warren Joyce: “We approach the game with the intention of winning.”
  • Latics looking to register FA Cup upset against holders.
KICK-OFF 4.00pm 

• TICKETS: No availability, read story, here
• WARREN JOYCE: Watch the press conference, here 
• AWAY INFO: Useful information for travelling supporters, here

Warren Joyce takes his new team back to the club where he has spent 18 years of his career and it will undoubtedly be a proud personal moment to coach a first team game at the stadium where he stood in the opposite dug out in charge of the United Reserve side.

Latics go to Old Trafford on the back of three straight wins, one in the FA Cup at home Nottingham Forest which enabled this match to take place, and two great league wins since that victory, against Burton Albion and Brentford.

Remaining in the Sky Bet Championship is clearly our number one target for this season, but this game takes centre stage in the meantime and backed by 3,000 Latics fans, the team really have nothing to lose. 

Mourinho v Latics – we first crossed swords in 2005

Whether or not Jose Mourinho decides to rotate his squad after Thursday’s EFL Cup semi-final against Hull City is, according to Joyce, not really that relevant. He said: “They’ve got a big squad filled with quality so whoever comes in will be top players, and if he chooses to bring in the young players, well they’re decent as well – I should know.”

Whoever Latics face in a red shirt, there is a good chance that Joyce will have coached a proportion of them during his time at United and that could help on the day.

One thing is for certain, however, Wigan Athletic as a club will enjoy the occasion but the team will be aiming for a positive result, Joyce is not the sort of character who will want his players to be any less than 100% focused on getting something from the game.

This is the match between the current holders and the 2013 holders and although Latics’ victory over Manchester City at Wembley will forever be one of our very proudest moments as a club, United’s FA Cup history is literally second to none,  their twelve victories being a record.

Lingard and Mata - 2016 FA Cup Final match winners.

They were triumphant last season under Louis Van Gaal with a dramatic 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace at Wembley. Juan Matta equalised on 81 minutes shortly after Jason Puncheon gave Palace the lead and despite going down to ten men in extra time following a red card for Chris Smalling, Jesse Lingard scored the winner in the 110th minute with a goal worthy of winning any final.

Latics will be sweating on the fitness of Yanic Wildschut after he missed the victory over Brentford with a slight hamstring strain. Reece James and Alex Gilbey both played 45 minutes in midweek for the U21 team - a game which also featured Andy Kellett - and all of them may be included on the bench, from which Marcus Browne will be hoping to make his first appearance in a Latics shirt – what a place to make if he does get on! Jamie Hanson won’t be featuring for his new club as he is cup-tied. 

Sergio Romero – likely to deputise in goal for United

For United, much will depend on Jose Mourinho’s strategy in terms of resting or rotating his squad between the two games against Hull City that are being played either side of this match, United facing The Tigers again in the Premier League next Wednesday.  One player Mourhino has said will be rested is goalkeeper David De Gea, his place being taken up by Sergio Romero in all likelihood. 

It doesn’t make for great reading alas, from a Latics point of view, our sole success coming in the victory over Sir Alex Ferguson’s title challengers at the DW Stadium in April 2012, courtesy of Shaun Maloney’s magnificent strike – who can ever forget that? 

Marvellous Maloney – unforgettable night at the DW.

Other than that, however, Latics have not fared well against the Red Devils, there’s no way to disguise it. In all competitions, the record reads played 18, won 1 and lost 17….Most of those games have been in the Premier League, although there was the Carling Cup Final in 2006 and the Charity Shield in 2013. We could also add the friendly for the official opening of the JJB Stadium in 1999 and the pre-season game last July - but that just adds another two victories to United’s column. 

Intriguingly, the fixture has never ended in a draw…so if we do force a replay on Sunday, that would make a little bit of history, as well as the welcome income derived from a second match. We live in hope…

There are plenty of current connections in this one of course. On the United side, Antonio Valencia is having a magnificent season, now operating as a right sided defender or wing back. He is close to notching his 200th league appearance since moving from Latics in 2008, a formidable achievement given the quality of the squad.

Antonio Valencia in Latics days versus Manchester United, 2006

On our side, taking away the staff of Warren Joyce and newly appointed this week, Mick Rathbone and Andy Welsh, Reece James, Nick Powell, Andy Kellett, Ryan Tunnicliffe are all former Manchester United players – in reality, Ryan Tunnicliffe  has the best chance of appearing on the field on Sunday with the other three in various stages of long-term injuries.

This game probably too early for Reece James to face his former club

Referee - Neil Swarbrick
Assistant Referee 1 - Stuart Burt
Assistant Referee 2 - Sian Massey-Ellis
Fourth Official - Tony Harrington

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