Everton entertain Wigan in the first of the FA Cup quarter-finals hoping to book a semi-final date at Wembley for the second year running. David Moyes’ men needed a replay to dispatch a stubborn Oldham side in the last round and will have to step it up against Premier League opposition.
The Toffee’s boast an impressive record against Roberto Martinez’s side, unbeaten in the last nine previous meetings.
Despite an impressive 3-1 victory over Reading on Saturday, the home side will be hoping that striker Nikica Jelavic can recapture his outstanding goalscoring exploits from last season with the Croatian international struggling in front of goal this term.
The glitz and glamour of an FA Cup tie will be a welcome distraction for Martinez. His side are currently battling a fight for relegation with goal difference the only contributing factor that keeps them out of the drop-zone.
Supporters of the away side could be forgiven for fearing the worst ahead of their trip to Merseyside. Everton’s neighbours and arch rivals Liverpool inflicted a heavy 4-0 defeat on the Latics last weekend and Martinez will be hoping for an improved defensive display.
The home side are unbeaten in the last five games at Goodison Park and will be hoping to continue this run as they search for their first FA Cup since beating Manchester United 1-0 in 1995.
Moyes will almost certainly be without centre back Phil Jagielka after the club announced the England international is to undergo surgery on an ankle injury picked up in the victory over Reading last weekend.
Wigan’s impressive survival from relegation last season shows that they are capable of defying the odds, and they will be hoping that the magic of the cup has not yet been lost.
KICK-OFF: Saturday, 12.45pm
PAST THREE MEETINGS...
Everton 2 (Osman, Jagielka) Wigan 1 (Kone), Premier League, December 2012
Wigan 2 (Kone, Di Santo) Everton 2 (Jelavic, Baines), Premier League, October 2012
Wigan 1 (Neville og) Everton 1, Premier League, February 2012
The two sides have met each other on 17 previous occasions. Everton have won nine and lost only two games during this period.
The game against Everton will be Wigan’s first against Premier League opposition in the competition this year.
Everton have scored and conceded in thirteen of their last 17 FA Cup ties
Wigan have not tasted victory at Goodison Park since their first ever visit to the ground in 2005, where they left with a 1-0 victory
Everton to win: 1.45
Wigan to win: 8.6
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