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Friday 15 February 2013

FA Cup: Wilshere doubtful for Blackburn tie

Arsenal midfielder could miss fifth-round match while Everton aiming to avoid Oldham shock

  • Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere is rated as '50-50' for the Blackburn tie

  • Defender Sylvain Distin could make a return to the Everton squad for the trip to Oldham

  • Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes could be out for another two weeks

Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere is an injury doubt for Saturday's FA Cup fifth-round tie at home to Blackburn Rovers.

The 21-year-old, who limped off during Arsenal's 1-0 victory over Sunderland on 9 February with a thigh injury, could be rested to ensure his fitness for the UEFA Champions League tie with Bayern Munich on Tuesday.

There are two other injury concerns for Arsenal with captain Thomas Vermaelen (ankle) and fellow defender Laurent Koscielny (calf) also doubtful for the tie at the Emirates Stadium.

"Wilshere and Koscielny have a test this [Friday] morning and Thomas Vermaelen should be back. He has a definite test today," Wenger told the club's website.

"This is a match that we have to win"
Carlos Tevez

"We have plenty of people in training today who have a test and we'll see how well they come out of it. I am confident 50-50 with Wilshere and Koscielny, and Vermaelen 90-10."

Everton will be looking to avoid a repeat of the last time they came up against Oldham Athletic when they travel to Boundary Park on Saturday.

In 2008, Oldham produced one of the shocks of the third round when they won 1-0 at Goodison Park against a side featuring Leighton Baines, Steven Pienaar and Phil Jagielka. Defender Sylvain Distin will hope to be fit again after missing the defeat away to Manchester United because of illness.

"Everything is focused on this game because it is very important for us," Everton midfielder Bryan Oviedo told the club's website ahead of the match against a side that stunned Liverpool in the last round. "It's a very nice game because we want to win the FA Cup."

Manchester City, winners of the FA Cup in 2011, host Tottenham Hotspur's conquerors Leeds United at the Etihad Stadium hoping to bounce back after their 3-1 defeat away to Southampton.

"This is a match that we have to win," City striker Carlos Tevez told the club's website. "With us being 12 points behind Manchester United in the league, obviously we want to go ahead and progress in this competition. It is very important for all the players because the FA Cup is something we still have a good chance of winning."

"We'll take nothing for granted. In the FA Cup you always expect the unexpected"
Sir Alex Ferguson

Wigan Athletic could have on-loan winger Ryo Miyaichi back in the squad for their trip to Huddersfield Town, who appointed Mark Robins as their manager during the week.

In the final fifth-round tie, taking place on Monday evening, Manchester United host Reading at Old Trafford with manager Sir Alex Ferguson planning to rotate his squad.

"We've come through Wednesday's game [against Real Madrid] without any injuries," said Ferguson. "That's the best thing, apart from the result of course. I'll make some changes for Monday night, even though it's an incentive to get to the quarter-final. I don’t think that’s lost on any of the players.

"We'll take nothing for granted. In the FA Cup you always expect the unexpected. It happens so many times. You just hope you're not a casualty or a shock. We've had a few over the years. But I can't be more pleased than I am at the moment with the form and spirit in the place. It's good."

Ferguson also revealed that midfielder Paul Scholes could be out for a further two weeks as he is struggling with a knee injury.

Chelsea host Brentford on Sunday lunchtime in the only remaining fourth-round tie.

Fourth round match

Sunday 17 February
v Brentford (12pm)

Fifth-round matches

Saturday 16 February
Luton v Millwall (12.45pm)
Arsenal v Blackburn Rovers (3pm)
MK Dons v Barnsley (3pm)
Oldham Athletic v Everton (6pm)

Sunday 17 February
Manchester City
v Leeds United (2pm)
Huddersfield Town v Wigan Athletic (3.55pm)

Monday 18 February
Manchester United
v Reading (8pm)

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Key Points

  • FA Cup resumes this weekend with seven fifth-round ties and one fourth-round match
  • Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere a doubt for Blackburn Rovers match
  • Chelsea, Everton, Man City, Man Utd, Reading and Wigan also in action