Manchester City host Championship strugglers Barnsley in the quarter final of the FA Cup on Saturday evening. The Premier League champions have their sights set on the trophy, to make up for a disappointing season.
Barnsley, meanwhile, come to the Etihad with nothing to lose. David Flitcroft's men are in danger of being relegated from the Championship and should they be soundly beaten by City, it will create little or no news. However, should the club manage to upstage Roberto Mancini's men, it could provide the impetus to save their season.
Where to Watch Live
Kick-off is set for 5.30pm GMT. Live telecast is available on ESPN and ESPN HD. Radio commentary is on BBC Radio 5 Live.
City suffered a controversial exit from last season's FA Cup, when captain Vincent Kompany received a red card for a challenge on Manchester United's Portuguese winger, Nani, in a third round match.
At that time, however, City were running rampant in the league and the prospect of a first top flight title in over four decades was more than enough to soothe over the cup exit. This year, though, Mancini has no rock to hide beneath; City have all but lost their league title, they have been eliminated from the Capital One Cup and the Champions League and failed even to qualify for the UEFA Europa League.
The FA Cup is all that is left this season.
The champions come into this game after a narrow 1-0 win at Aston Villa, on 4 March. The result was a third straight win, in all competitions, since their dreadful performance at St Mary's, where Southampton hammered them 3-1.
City saw off another Championship side - Leeds United - in the last round of the FA Cup, winning 4-0 at home. That result, coupled with the confidence from beating European champions Chelsea at the end of February, means City should be mentally prepared for this fixture.
The club's home league form suggests Barnsley will have a hard evening ahead of them. City have won 10 of 14 home games, scoring 31 times and conceding only 11. In contrast, Barnsley have won only five of 18 away games in the league, with a goal difference of -8.
Flitcroft's men are 22nd and a point shy of the relative safety of 21st, now occupied by Wolves. For the visitors, leading scorer Chris Dagnall (three goals) will have to deliver in spades, if Toure and co are to be seriously troubled. Flitcroft, incidentally, is the brother of former City player Garry Flitcroft, who was sold to moneybags Blackburn Rovers in 1996 to help clear City's debts. How times have changed!
Barnsley qualified for this round with a 3-1 win at Milton Keynes Dons and come into this game following a 1-1 away draw at Burnley. The side have not won in three games and have conceded nine times in that run, scoring only six times.
- Last Five (all competitions, most recent first): W W W L D
- Last Match: Aston Villa 0 - 1 Manchester City
- Last Five (all competitions, most recent first): D L L W W
- Last Match: Burnley 1 -1 Barnsley
Kompany (calf) is unlikely to play any part in this game and Ivory Coast international Kolo Toure is likely to be drafted in, alongside youngster Matija Nastasic. Midfielder Jack Rodwell suffered a hamstring injury against Villa and Argentine striker Sergio Agüero (knee) is also unavailable.
Probable Line-Up: Pantilimon; Zabaleta, K Toure, Nastasic, Kolarov; Milner, García, Y Toure, Silva; Dzeko, Tevez
Barnsley are without left-back Scott Golbourne, who is out for the season after suffering a knee injury. Flitcroft may play Ryan Tunnicliffe, who is on loan from Manchester United. Midfielder Rory Delap could also be an option; he is on loan from Stoke City and his long throws could create confusion in the opposition box. Top scorer in the league, Chris O'Grady, will likely partner cup top scorer Dagnall up front.
Probable Line-Up: Steele; Foster, Cranie, Kennedy, Wiseman; Etuhu, Mellis, Perkins, Cywka; Dagnall, O'Grady
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