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World Cup 2018

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Pep careful not to underestimate danger posed by buoyant Latics

 

By Andy Hampson

Pep Guardiola expects Wigan to race out of the blocks when they face his Manchester City side in the FA Cup tonight.

Premier League leaders City travel to the DW Stadium in a repeat of the 2013 final, which was famously won by Wigan.

Latics also stunned City in the 2014 quarter-finals and, even though they have since slipped to League One, Guardiola is braced for a tough challenge.

Paul Cook's Wigan, who are enjoying a fine season and on course for promotion, have already beaten two top flight sides in Bournemouth and West Ham this season.

"They are going to start so hard because they are so intense, so aggressive without the ball and we have to be ready," said Guardiola.

"When you play at home it's one issue but when you play away in tough conditions in January and February teams like Wigan, who showed in the games against Bournemouth that anything can happen in one game - you could have a sending off, can win if you are not ready."

City continue to fight on four fronts and Guardiola is pleased his squad's injury list is easing.

Fabian Delph, David Silva and Leroy Sane all returned to action in the midweek Champions League win at Basel and Gabriel Jesus is also back in training.

Guardiola said: "We have a (strong) squad when everyone is fit. Ten days ago we had seven injured but now most have recovered so of course we are going to take it seriously."

Wigan boss Paul Cook does not rate his side's chances of knocking City's "well-oiled machine" out of the competition.

"Will we upset them on the night? Percentage-wise, very small. But will we give it a go? Of course we will," Cook said.

"We're not going to sit off them. We're genuinely not going to sit back, it's not our thing. Why would we want to sit back and wait for them to open us up? We've got to try and affect the game."

Cook admitted the City side moulded by Guardiola is an altogether different proposition to anything his charges have faced this season. "I don't think you can heap enough superlatives on them. Now it's a case of everyone acknowledging exactly what they are, which is a proper well-oiled machine," he said.

Wigan Athletic vs Manchester City

FA Cup Fifth Round:

DW Stadium, Tonight, 7.55pm

Belfast Telegraph

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