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Swindon had failed to reach the third round of the FA Cup for 10 successive seasons before making it this far this time around, with a comfortable 3-0 win over Crewe Alexandra in round one preceding a 2-1 triumph at Walsall back in December.
Not since the 1991-92 season have the League Two side managed to make it as far as the fifth round, but any hopes of them keeping their cup run going as far as round four will be slim to none when they take to the field on Friday.
Form was not on their side at the end of 2021, as Ben Garner‘s side went winless in four League Two games before the New Year, but they kicked off 2022 in barnstorming fashion by seeing off Northampton Town 5-2 at County Ground.
Star striker Harry McKirdy was unplayable on the day as he scored four of his side’s five goals – with fellow number nine Tyreece Simpson also getting in on the act – but Swindon have lost each of their last three FA Cup games at home and are facing an uphill battle to avoid making it four here.
Swindon goalkeeper Joe Wollacott has earned a call-up to the Ghana squad for the Africa Cup of Nations and will not be available here, so Lewis Ward could get the nod in between the sticks.
The hosts will be without French centre-back Mathieu Baudry due to a hip tendon injury, while Jack Payne will also miss out after being withdrawn early in the Northampton contest.
Crystal Palace centre-back Jake O’Brien has arrived on loan to bolster Garner’s defence, and Wales international Jonathan Williams is rated touch-and-go for the game.
Man City also have one AFCON representative in the form of Algeria’s Riyad Mahrez, who would have most likely been rested here anyway alongside John Stones, who is still doubtful with a knock.
Phil Foden and Oleksandr Zinchenko remain doubts due to COVID-19, so Nathan Ake could earn another start at left-back as CJ Egan-Riley and Luke Mbete vie for opportunities in the heart of defence.
Zack Steffen and Fernandinho will also expect to come into the first XI for this encounter, while in the final third, Cole Palmer, James McAtee and Kayky could all earn some valuable minutes.
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The Citizens have also confirmed that Guardiola will be absent after contracting coronavirus, as well as seven unnamed players who have been forced into self-isolation.
Swindon Town possible starting lineup:
Ward; Kesler, Odimayo, Hunt, Iandolo; Gilbert, Williams, Reed, Lyden; McKirdy, Simpson
Manchester City possible starting lineup:
Steffen; Walker, Mbete, Egan-Riley, Ake; Gundogan, Fernandinho, McAtee; Kayky, Palmer, Grealish