City’s EFL Cup odyssey came to an end on Tuesday night with a spirited 3-2 defeat to Middlesbrough, and with the thoughts of a trip to Port Vale in the Quarter Final now quelled, attention turns to the FA Cup and the visit of a side that was in town just a couple of weeks ago.
With City’s physio room beginning to resemble Clapham Junction again what was not needed was for two more players to depart with injuries. The sight of Demetri Mitchell on a pair of crutches will have been particularly crushing, while Jack Fitzwater’s withdrawal will hopefully have just been precautionary. Unless one or both of Dion Rankine and Ilmari Niskanen are ready to return, Gary Caldwell will once again be forced to put square pegs in round holes with either Vincent Harper or Harry Kite filling in on the right. Elsewhere Caldwell has moved to a front pair of James Scott and Admiral Muskwe, a partnership that needs to start clicking soon.
Since coming away from the Park with a 2-0 win despite giving up 72% of possession, 30 shots and 17 corners, Wigan have taken this as a massive confidence boost in winning their next two games also 2-0 against Oxford and Shrewsbury, before coming unstuck at home to Charlton on Tuesday night – going 3-0 down before rallying late to lose 3-2. Stephen Humphrys has been a key player in their revival with goals in three successive games having been involved in Wigan’s first at City. Their recent upturn has seen the Latics move out of the relegation zone having been hamstrung by their points deduction. In terms of the FA Cup, Wigan (with Gary Caldwell on the bench) made history with a dramatic win over Manchester City in 2013. Callum McManaman will hope to feature having played in that win ten years ago.
While City and Wigan have met 17 times in the league, Saturday marks the first time the sides have met in any cup competition.
The match officials for this game will be:-
Referee: Craig Hicks
Assistant Referees: Dean Treleaven and Andrew Aylott
Fourth Official: Craig Scriven
Craig Hicks has officiated a number of Exeter games as an assistant referee or fourth official, but his last time as the match referee was last season in April when Exeter lost 1-0 to Bolton.
The summary of the recent home game with Wigan can be found at https://www.exeweb.com/2023/10/23/summary-exeter-city-vs-wigan-athletic/