Date: 2nd January 2018 at 8:28pm
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Premier League opponents and a Premier League referee for Coventry City at the Ricoh Arena this coming Saturday as the Sky Blues aim to spring a surprise and knock top-flight strugglers Stoke City out of the competition at the Third Round stage.

Martin Atkinson will take charge of the game, the experienced official having had a busy festive season with 10 yellow cards dished out on Boxing Day as Manchester United hosted Burnley and then a further 6 in Saturday’s clash between Watford and Swansea City.

There will be no video referee at the Ricoh although the VAR system is being trialled at the Brighton versus Crystal Palace tie.

The future of Stoke manager Mark Hughes has been the subject of a day of speculation in the Potteries on Tuesday after a crucial home reverse against Newcastle United on New Year’s Day.

Local newspaper The Sentinel believes Hughes will remain in post for this weekend’s fixture but that potential replacements are being sounded out.

Sadly, despite the great history of the FA Cup, its importance to a team such as Stoke is limited when weighed against survival in the Premier League so the fixture against the Sky Blues may be seen as irrelavent in the thoughts of the Potters hierarchy.