This weekend sees the remaining clubs from the Championship take their chances in the Fourth Round of the FA Cup, but with six of the eleven teams that successfully navigated the last round taking on Premier League opposition, it’s possible that interest will be down to a minimum next month.
Before we go any further, there are two Championship clubs playing League One sides, so if you want to read about the games involving Newcastle and Huddersfield you’ll have to visit Buzzin League 1 Football to read the previews. Otherwise I’ll break down the games in the usual format.
Televised games: Derby v Leicester (7:55pm this evening, BBC1), Liverpool v Wolves (12:30 tomorrow, BBC1), Sutton United v Leeds (2:00pm Sunday BT Sport 2), Manchester United v Wigan (4:00pm Sunday BBC1).
Championship v Premier League
Derby and Leicester meet in the FA Cup for the first time in almost 108 years, but despite their poor form in the Premier League Leicester have won eight of the last nine meetings between the clubs. Liverpool last met Wolves in the cup more recently – only 65 years ago – but Wanderers have only recorded one victory in eight games against Liverpool since the turn of the century. Wigan have only beaten Manchester United once in seventeen meetings, although they’ve never been drawn against each other in the FA Cup.
Non-televised games: Burnley v Bristol City, Chelsea v Brentford (both 3pm Saturday)
The theme continues: Bristol City have never played at Turf Moor in a cup tie of any sort. However, Brentford have played at Chelsea comparatively recently: in March 2013 they forced a 2-2 draw at Griffin Park before losing the replay 4-0 at Stamford Bridge.
Which leaves us with one possible surprise in this category – if you could call it that.
Fulham v Hull (Sunday 12:30pm)
The Cottagers have been on a decent run of at home recently (one defeat in eight) but they’ve not won an FA Cup tie in front of their own fans for three years. Having written that, the last time these sides met in the competition was in 1975, when Fulham reached the final after beating Hull in a second replay at Leicester’s old ground, Filbert Street. Could history repeat itself? Both clubs lost this week, but Fulham have had an extra day to recover.
Championship v League Two
Blackburn v Blackpool (tomorrow 3pm)
There have been some signs of life at Ewood Park recently. Rovers haven’t lost at home since before Christmas and are currently only in the bottom three on goal difference. The FA Cup probably isn’t a priority, but putting one over their Lancashire rivals could well be and although Blackpool have already knocked Barnsley out of the competition this season, the Tangerines haven’t beaten Blackburn in any of their three previous meetings in the competition. Last league meeting was a 1-1 draw at Ewood Park two years ago.
Championship v National League
Lincoln v Brighton (tomorrow 3pm)
The Imps dumped a very lacklustre Ipswich side out in the last round to reach this stage of the competition for the first time in over 40 years, when the late Graham Taylor was in charge at Sincil Bank. Brighton will be a much tougher task than the Tractor Boys, although Lincoln won the most recent FA Cup tie between the sides – despite being one division below Brighton.
Sutton v Leeds (see televised matches)
Only previous meeting: a Fourth Round tie in January 1970, which Leeds won 6-0. They went on to reach the final, which they lost in a replay at Old Trafford after a thrilling 2-2 draw on a Wembley in the last FA Cup final to be held in April – supposedly to help the England team have enough time to prepare for the defence of the World Cup in Mexico.
There are five league games tomorrow and a full midweek programme next week, but I’ll update as we go along and I’ll be back next Friday.
A ridiculous weekend. Derby began badly but nearly beat Leicester, Wolves lead for the entire game against Liverpool and recorded a memorable victory and Blackburn, Fulham and Huddersfield won comfortably.
Otherwise it was absolutely dismal. Brentford and Bristol City did as well as was expected, but the rest of the Championship teams were a disgrace. You know who you are: if promotion to the Premier League is your priority, perhaps you should just not bother playing at all and just pay a fine or similar.
Fifth Round Draw:
Blackburn v Manchester United, Fulham v Spurs, Huddersfield v Manchester City, Millwall v Derby or Leicester and Wolves v Chelsea