Crystal Palace make the trip to Manchester this evening as they aim to get back to winning ways in the Capital One Cup after losing two on the trot in the league.
Alan Pardew’s men face a Manchester City side that will be looking to extend their unbeaten run in all competitions to six games. But they will again have to do it without Sergio Aguero and David Silva who are still injured.
After an impressive start the Eagles have faltered slightly, as defeat against West Ham and then the most recent defeat at the King Power Stadium has temporary halted the side’s momentum.
A costly mistake from Brede Hangeland allowed Jamie Vardy to continue his blistering early season goalscoring form.
But the Norwegian defender said: “Really, no one expects us to do anything on Wednesday night. We know it’s possible, we have to put in a good performance and have a bit of luck.”
Pardew masterminded a Newcastle victory against the same opponents in the competition 12 months ago, and he will be hoping lightening will strike twice at the Etihad.
Being in the fourth round of this competition is fairly new for the Eagles, as it is only the second time in 10 seasons Crystal Palace have been in this position.
Dwight Gayle will return from his one-game suspension tonight and will most probably lead the line, after Frazier Campbell’s performance didn’t have the desired impact at Leicester City at the weekend.
Pape Souare is still out, so Adrian Mariappa will continue to deputise at left-back. Connor Wickham and Joel Ward are close for a return but the game at the Etihad might come too soon, and the only other absentee for Pardew is Marouane Chamakh who has missed the opening months of the season.
Manuel Pellegrini’s men played out a drab 0-0 draw with local rivals Manchester United at the weekend, but remained top of the league because of superior goal-difference.
The Blues have missed the cutting edge of Aguero and the creativity of Silva in recent weeks, and with back-up striker Wilfried Bony failing to score Pellegrini may look to change things for tonight’s clash.
19-year-old Kelechi Iheanacho would be the most likely option, the young forward has impressed since making his debut for the club at the home of the visitors in September.
Iheanacho scored the only goal of the game when the sides met in the league, so he could be given another chance tonight.
For Pellegrini he hasn’t got many major injury concerns, but Aguero and Silva are out for the foreseeable future.
Samir Nasri has stepped up his recovery but the game is too soon for the Frenchman. Captain Vincent Kompany may continue in defence despite his shaky start to the season.
Pellegrini may use this match to give further game-time to youngsters such as Manu Garcia and Patrick Roberts.
It should be a great encounter, and with both Chelsea and Arsenal crashing out last night, it gives the Eagles confidence that another big name side could fall victim to a cup shock.