It’s FA Cup third round weekend and here we look at five ties which could just possibly cause some upsets as plenty of non-league and lower league clubs still find themselves in the mix.
West Brom vs Gateshead
In a time of transition for West Brom this could be a tougher test than it first looks. Gateshead, currently 11th in the Conference will travel to The Hawthorns hoping of overthrowing a side which has failed to pick up three points in their last four Premier League games. Three of those games being losses.
This has surely contributed to the recent managerial change at the club. Premier League Manager of the Year Tony Pulis will now take charge for today’s game. The hope will be that he can turnaround the club’s fortunes with the Premier League surely the priority but West Brom will need to be wary of non-league Gateshead today before they can focus on league action once again.
Blyth Spartans vs Birmingham City
Another non-league side who will look to cause an upset for one of the Championship’s big boys. Birmingham’s form has been up and down in recent weeks, having won three and lost two of their last five league games.
They currently sit in 14th place in the league and although they are massive favourites, we’ve seen before how difficult it can be for bigger clubs to travel to relatively unknown non-league grounds.
Millwall vs Bradford
Championhip’s Millwall host League One’s Bradford today in what could possibly see Bradford, who were cast into the limelight in 2013 for their arrival at the League Cup final causing an upset. They will be hoping that the 5-0 hammering they were dealt at the hand of Swansea won’t be repeated against the Championship side.
Bradford currently find themselves in the play-off positions in League One and will be striving to improve on their unbeaten streak which stretches as far back as the 9th of November.
Millwall will look to find their feet again having lost their last three games. An upset could be on the cards when looking at the current form of both sides.
Sunderland vs Leeds
Sunday’s clash pits two sides struggling to find any form of consistency in recent weeks with results not going their way. Leeds are currently struggling in 20th place in the Championship while Sunderland are similarly fighting at the wrong end of the Premier League table.
Although Leeds have not done much this season to prove that an upset could be on the cards, Neil Redfearn’s side will surely raise their game for what is a welcome distraction from their league woes as they travel to play the Black Cats.
Dover Athletic vs Crystal Palace
This is a tie with much of the same characteristics as the aforementioned West Brom – Gateshead clash. A Premier League giant comes up against a non-league outfit. Ironically, Dover find themselves just one place behind Gateshead in the Conference and level on points.
However, home advantage could just swing it for the Whites with managerial upheaval at the south London club. They have brought in Alan Pardew but can he turnaround what has been a difficult season thus far for the Eagles?
A good start would be beating non-league side Dover as Palace are expected to do.
There we have it. Five ties that could just turn out to be upsets. Are there any other fixtures which you would have selected as possible giant killings? Let us know by commenting below.
Rob Lyons, Pundit Arena