Giant killers: 5 possible upsets to be aware of in the FA Cup third round
As the Premier League and Championship join the competition, here are the shocks you should look out for this weekend...
Bolton v Crystal Palace -
It was not long ago that Bolton would go into an FA Cup third round match as favourites.
But two relegations in four seasons have seen the four-time winners of the tournament slide into League One.
Fortunately for them, manager Phil Parkinson knows a thing or two about cup upsets.
At Bradford City, the 49-year-old took the Bantams to the League Cup final while in League Two, before ousting Chelsea at Stamford Bridge two years later in a run to the FA Cup quarter final.
Premier League Crystal Palace – who have won just once in 14, losing 10 – should tread carefully, then.
Given that Bolton have won 10 consecutive matches at the Macron Stadium, avoiding defeat against their Premier League opponents is not beyond the realms of possibility.
Sutton United v AFC Wimbledon -
Fans of traditional FA Cup narratives, this one is for you.
Both of these sides already boast two of the most famous upsets the tournament has seen.
Sutton famously beat Coventry in 1989 – cup winners two years earlier – while Wimbledon came in 1988 as they overcame Liverpool to win the trophy.
The fixture is also a repeat of the Don’s first ever match in their current guise, which Sutton won 5-2.
And while it may not end in a thrashing, it would be foolish to back against the National League side this weekend.
Wimbledon, after all, have not progressed past this stage since their reformation and were fortunate to beat National League North side Curzon Ashton in the previous round.
Neal Ardley’s side managed to overturn a three-goal deficit in the final 10 minutes to squeeze through.
Sutton – who have lost just twice in 16 at home – will be no soft touch, though.
Ipswich v Lincoln City -
Despite the disparity between the two sides – 59 league places – Ipswich should feel uneasy ahead of this cup match.
The Tractor Boys are winless in their last 10 FA Cup matches and have not progressed beyond the third round in their last six attempts.
Just two wins in seven is hardly form for Lincoln to fear, either.
The National League leaders have won 11 in 13 and only been beaten once in 18 ahead of their first appearance at this stage in seven seasons.
The Imps do have a history of beating higher-division sides, having already deposed League One Oldham in the previous round and beaten Walsall in 2012/13.
Ipswich, approach with caution.
Bristol City v Fleetwood -
Simply by getting to the third round, Fleetwood have already equalled their best ever showing in the tournament.
But the Cod Army aren’t done yet.
Their previous appearance at this stage came in the 2010/11 season, when Fleetwood – who were still a non-league side – were beaten 5-1 by then-Championship neighbours Blackpool.
Don’t bank on a similar result this weekend, given that Bristol City have only managed to get past this stage once in the last nine years.
Lee Johnson’s side have also been known to come unstuck at the hands of lower league opposition, having been knocked out by League Two Crawley in 2011/12.
Considering they have lost nine of their last 10, another upset is a definite possibility.
Brentford v Eastleigh -
This will not be as straightforward as many expect.
Brentford have won just once in seven at Griffin Park and have also failed to make it past this stage in nine of the previous 10 seasons.
Those cup exits have twice come at the hands of non-league sides, too, losing to Barrow in 2008/09 and Wrexham in 2011/12.
Eastleigh, meanwhile, have already knocked League One Swindon out of this year’s tournament and last season beat Crewe before taking Championship Bolton to a third-round replay.
The Spitfires should be confident of another credible showing, then.