In the Fourth Round of the 2017/2018 Emirates FA Cup, David Moyes’ West Ham United make the trip to face off with Paul Cook’s Wigan Athletic, in a meeting of teams two Division apart, the hosts in League One and the visitors in the Premier League.
The Latics go into the tie off the back of an impressive away triumph over Plymouth Argyle at Home Park, whereas, the Hammers were also last in action seven days from kick-off, drawing at home to AFC Bournemouth, the away side are the slight favourites for this one.
The clash is scheduled for tomorrow afternoon (Saturday 27 January 2018) with a kick-off time of 3 PM GMT and unfortunately, no live Television coverage available for viewing in the United Kingdom.
However, you can tune into live Radio commentary on BBC Radio Manchester, BBC Radio London and BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra, or alternatively, if you head over to @MooreThanAClub on Twitter, you can be sure to find live build-up, updates and reaction from the encounter.
The visit of Moyes’ Irons us due to be held at Wigan’s relatively modern home Ground of the DW Stadium, named after Owner Dave Whelan’s Sports Company, DW Sports Fitness.
It was opened in 1999 and can house up to 25,133, setting that very attendance record on a match against Manchester United almost ten years ago, the Latics moved to the Stadium from their previous home of Springfield Park, improving their fortunes drastically.
Cook’s men share the arena with Rugby League side Wigan Warriors and it has also hosted Rugby League Test Matches in the past, the DW does not house happy memories for the travelling Claret & Blue Army, being the site where Relegation to the Championship was confirmed under Avram Grant in 2010/2011.
The East Londoners have journeyed to the venue on 11 previous occasions, their last outing there coming in the early winter of 2012, when a James Tomkins header wasn’t enough to cancel out strikes from Ivan Ramis and James McArthur in a 2-1 defeat.
Tics Boss Cook is expected to be without the trio of injured Shaun MacDonald, Dan Burn and Michael Jacobs and may also rest some of his first-team stars ahead of a Tuesday night trip to Rochdale in the League.
However, one man that could well feature is on loan Swansea City star and new signing Jay Fulton, although fellow new man James Vaughan, who played under Moyes at Goodison Park, is Cup-tied.
Meanwhile, Irons Manager Moyes confirmed in his Pre-Wigan Athletic Press Conference, which MooreThanJustAClub were fortunate enough to be in, that key stars Marko Arnautovic and Manuel Lanzini are the latest to join his ever-growing injury list.
It’s unlikely that Inter Milan loanee Joao Mario will make the Squad just over 24 hours after joining, some U23 stars could well feature including Spanish prodigy Antonio Martinez, while England keeper Joe Hart will take the reins between the sticks from Adrian San-Miguel for a game.
The teams of Wigan Athletic and West Ham United have met a mere 21 times in Competitive Football down the years, with only one of them coming in the 20th century, the first-ever meeting in 1984.
Although 33 places separate them in the English Football Pyramid, the overall record between the two is fairly even, with the Tics registering eight victories, the Hammers 11, there have been only two draws.
Moyes has an admirable record when facing Athletic, in 17 matches he has only been defeated three times, the last time that he faced them came in 2013 when he triumphed with the Red Devils in the Community Shield, though Wigan did beat his Everton en-route to lifting the Trophy that year.
And, the last time that the East Londoners did battle with the Lancashire boys was also in spring 2013, when the hosts that day plunged a nail into the visitors’ Relegation coffin with a triumph that came courtesy of goals from Matt Jarvis and Kevin Nolan.
Wigan Athletic Football Club was founded in 1932, only 86 years ago, making them one of the younger teams in the Football League having been formed by the folding of Wigan Borough FC the year before.
Since then, like many other clubs of their stature, they have endured a roller-coaster ride, though their most successful period has come in the modern era, the Ownership of Whelan proving a turning point for them.
The highlight of the Tics’ existence surely came between the years of 2005 and 2013 when they gained Premier League status for the first time, however, it all ended five years ago, when former player Roberto Martinez guided them to Relegation and FA Cup glory in the same season, overcoming Manchester City in the Final.
Since then, Wigan have tumbled back into League One twice, despite featuring in the 2013/2014 Europa League Group Stage, although now, under experienced Manager Cook, they do look to be on the up, unbeaten in their last 14 in all Competitions and possessing a five-point lead at the very top of the Division.
Who Is Officiating?
Select Group Referee Chris Kavanagh will be the man in the middle on Saturday afternoon, acting as his Assistants will be Scott Ledger and Nick Greenhalgh, while English Football League Official Tony Harrington will take up the role of Fourth Official.
So, now that the DW Stadium scene has been well and truly set for an exciting afternoon of Cup Football in Lancashire, will the magic of this Tournament help the Latics to an unlikely upset?
Or, will the travelling Hammers advance into Round Five in routine style and maintain their undefeated run since before Christmas? Think you know? Be sure to head over to @MooreThanAClub on Twitter to cast your early score predictions and join the pre-match discussion.