Bristol City vs Wolves preview: Former Sky Bet Championship foes meet in FA Cup
Last Updated: 17/02/19 8:51am
Former Sky Bet Championship foes Bristol City and Wolves will meet in FA Cup fifth round on Sunday, with their last encounter at Ashton Gate a tumultuous affair.
The league fixture between the two sides at the end of 2017 saw Nuno Espirito Santo sent to the Ashton Gate stands after impeding on Bristol City's technical area, while there were red cards for Wolves defender Danny Batth and home goalkeeper Frank Fielding.
The Portuguese manager had to watch the remainder of the match from the director's box, where he did not hold back his celebrations when Ryan Bennett scored what proved to be an injury-time winner for Wolves and saw them open up a 10-point lead at the top of the table.
Ahead of the fifth-round tie, he said: "That game was so emotional. Particularly it was so hard for me as I was sent off and went to the stands. Being there, you realise that you cannot help the team.
"All the emotions come and later what I felt was a big, big joy and a tremendous moment of happiness. It was so important for us that I could not contain myself.
"All of us are different. I just try to follow my instincts and sometimes I know that I make mistakes. At the same time, I admit them, I apologise when I have to and I try to avoid them in the future."
Bristol City manager Lee Johnson says there are no hard feelings after the previous Aston Gate encounter and says he has respect for the job Nuno has done at Wolves.
"That was a big game. Two big games last year - very tense and very tight and obviously they've kicked on, and we've got nothing but respect for the job he's done there," he said.
"They're seventh in the Premier League now, no mean feat. And yes he's had money but you have to spend that very well and it's an interesting format and project at Wolves. They've got a top manager there and he's performing very well.
"It's our challenge to beat the team and if that's a case of it being a scalp because of their Premier League status then all the better for us because we've done that four or five times in the last 18 months."
Andreas Weimann will be assessed before the game, with another player also potentially sidelined, although Bristol City manager Lee Johnson did not reveal who.
Wolves also have no new injuries ahead of the tie. John Ruddy has played in all of Wolves' FA Cup games this season so is set to replace Rui Patricio in goal.
Bristol City have won just two of their last 18 meetings with Wolves in all competitions (D4 L12), losing the last such match meeting in December 2017 (1-2 at Ashton Gate).
Wolves won their only previous FA Cup encounter with Bristol City, winning 1-0 in the fourth round in 1972-73.
Bristol City are looking to reach the FA Cup quarter-final for the first time since 1973-74, being knocked out of the competition at this stage five times since then.
Wolves are looking to reach the FA Cup quarter-final for the first time since 2002-03. They've lost twice at this stage of the competition since, each time to the eventual losing finalists (Cardiff in 2007-08 and Chelsea in 2016-17).
Bristol City have already eliminated Premier League opposition from the FA Cup this season, beating Huddersfield in round three. They last knocked out two top-flight opponents in a single edition of the competition in 1919-20 (Arsenal and Bradford).
Matt Doherty has been directly involved in each of Wolves' last four goals in the FA Cup this season, scoring three and assisting the other.
Wolves rested a load of players last time and needed a replay against Shrewsbury when you think they should have got the job done straight away. Bristol City are rolling, nine on the trot. Wolves again are a team that can go for it but they will make changes. I'm going to go for a Wolves win in extra time. I think they will have a stronger bench on the day.
I know they are probably going for seventh at the moment and that sends you into Europe. It's a hard one to call but they are one of the main ones that have got nothing to play for. They are not getting relegated or in the top four so they should have a right go in the cup.
MERSE PREDICTS: 1-2 in extra-time (8/1 with Sky Bet)