Manchester United’s next FA Cup opponents were confirmed on Monday evening when the draw for the fourth round was made.
Jose Mourinho’s men will be at home to Wigan Athletic, the side now managed by former United Reserves coach Warren Joyce, on the weekend of Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 January. The meeting at Old Trafford will therefore fall between two matches against Hull City – the EFL Cup semi-final second leg away on Thursday 26 January and a home Premier League game on Wednesday 1 February.
The two clubs located 25 miles apart have never met in the FA Cup, with 16 of the 18 competitive fixtures between them coming in the Premier League and the other two being the 2006 League Cup final and the 2013 Community Shield. Wigan qualified for the latter by winning the FA Cup for the only time in their history after beating Manchester City 1-0 at Wembley.
The Reds are attempting to retain the trophy after lifting it for a 12th time following the dramatic 2-1 extra-time success over Crystal Palace in last May’s final. This season’s defence of the silverware began in excellent fashion at the weekend of course with an emphatic 4-0 win over Jaap Stam’s Reading, featuring a landmark goal for captain Wayne Rooney – his 249th, drawing him level with all-time top scorer Sir Bobby Charlton.
Meanwhile, Wigan, who are currently seven points from safety in the Championship table, defied their league struggles to win 2-0 at home to Nottingham Forest with goals from Will Grigg and Yanic Wildschut. The Latics appointed Joyce as their manager on 2 November 2016 after he began the season in his longstanding role in charge of United’s title-winning Reserves.
“It’s a good draw for ourselves, first of all, and good for Warren to come back with his team,” commented Head of Academy Nicky Butt to MUTV. “I’m sure he’ll get a good reception.”
United and Wigan last met in a friendly match at the DW Stadium on 16 July 2016 – Jose Mourinho’s first game as Reds boss. It was also the unofficial debut for summer signings Eric Bailly and Henrikh Mkhitaryan and the FA Cup holders won 2-0 thanks to strikes by Will Keane and Andreas Pereira.
Official Members can apply for FA Cup fourth-round tickets from now until 08:00 GMT on Monday 16 January. Applications can be made online at manutd.com/tickets.