15:00 Thursday

Football returns this weekend but before 32 of the English sides get back into league action, they’ve got to navigate an FA Cup fourth-round tie. I’ve been looking over the cup games this weekend and have eyed up a little treble:

Stoke vs Wigan

Having knocked out high-flying Blackburn in the previous round, Wigan have gone from strength to strength in every competition they’ve played in. In League One they’re suiting pretty in 2nd place with two games in hand over Rotherham in top spot, they’ve got an EFL Trophy semi-final coming up against Sutton and in the FA Cup they travel to another Championship side in Stoke City this weekend. One thing that has been impressive about The Latics this season has been their goals return. With the likes of Will Keane and Max Power knocking in goals for fun, they’ve got the talent to score against even the better sides in not only their league, but leagues above them, and that was no more apparent than in their 3-2 win over Blackburn at the DW. They’ll face a stern test here, but The Potters have been leaking goals as of late. That being said, they are a difficult side to hold off here at The Brit and while I think Wigan will have enough in the locker to find the net, I can’t see them keeping a clean sheet.

15:00 Saturday

Peterborough vs QPR

An all Championship tie here but it’s two sides with plenty on their plates as well. QPR have real chances of promotion to the Premier League this season if they can continue their solid run of form, while hosts Peterborough are staring down the barrel of life in League One. The FA Cup then may provide a welcome distraction to pressures of Championship football here and I’m expecting a few goals. When the two met earlier in the season it ended with a 2-1 win to QPR, and that’s also the same scoreline that QPR have seen in each of their last four games on the road in all competitions. If there’s one thing they have struggled with it’s keeping a clean sheet on their travels, and I expect Posh to give it a good go here. Their better form has been at home this season in all fairness and they are more than capable of entertaining the Weston Homes Stadium supporters, but ultimately I’d expect quality to prevail and Peterborough’s focus to be quickly reverted back to survival.

15:00 Saturday

Man City vs Fulham

A relatively tough one to call as it’s two sides absolutely flying in their respective leagues, but they are a league apart. City have been dominant on all fronts this season and given Fulham’s defensive record as of late, I don’t expect that to change today. But we have to remember they do have a packed schedule with a Champions League tie on the way soon as well, and Pep has a notorious history of rotation in this competition. They should still have the quality in depth to get the job done here, but I fancy Fulham to bag a goal along the way. You can’t deny the fact that they are in incredible goalscoring form with 23 goals in their last five games, and while that may be against lesser opposition, this is a huge opportunity to state their intentions at The Etihad and I think they have the goalscoring talent to produce at least a goal.