Man to Watch: Nahki Wells - Pete Norton
The much awaited fourth round tie is here, yes its tonight! The chance for Wigan to start aiming for glory and look towards a final and even some silverware, is all within our reach, and we now need to surpass League two Bradford City, very much a banana skin in the making.
The game between Bradford and Wigan is likely to be a hot affair, the teams have had contrasting league forms, Wigan have looked inconsistent and sloppy, Bradford have looked sharp and quick and are one of the promotion favorites this season.
It will be the meeting of two teams who owe much of their success to the same man, Paul Jewell. It was the Liverpudlian that took both sides to the Premier League, while Paul was able to keep Latics in the top flight, he was powerless to stop the slide of Bradford City, who since being in the Premier League in 1999.
So the two teams have had varying success over the past years, while Wigan battle for Premier League life, Bradford have battled to stay in the football league. This season though they have looked to change things, and are doing pretty well.
Under the leadership of Phil Parkinson, Bradford now sit 5th in the table, and have looked good for their money playing true football. Much the way Martinez like to play with Wigan.
The weekend saw Bradford lose 1-0 away to Burton Albion. The Citizens (Bradford) are starting to lose their way as players start to pick up injuries with the heavy league schedule. Six first team regulars could miss the game, giving Wigan the clear advantage.
The bad news for Wigan, is that Bradford's top goalscorer Nakhi Wells will be taking part in the game. He sat out the league fixture against Burton after picking up five yellow cards, but the striker who has scored 10 goals this season will be available to face Latics.
So what about Wigan, how will we shape up? That is hard to say and I wouldn't like to make too many guess. The team will most likely be a very strong one with a bit of youth mixed in. Players defiantly not likely to feature include the following: James McArthur (banned), Di Santo (rested), Miyaichi (injured), Crusat (injured). However Antolin Alcaraz could make a brief cameo appearances to get in some game time.
Players who I would hope to see are the younger on the brink players. Callum McManaman is likely to start, while it would be nice to see Frazer Fyvie and Roman Golobart given a full chance to shine in this years competition, both players are there or there abouts to playing in the first team.
The line ups for both teams will be interesting and hopefully it will supply what could be an interesting cup match between two sides looking to progress.