The world is watching. A huge FA Cup weekend for…
The Saints’ rise under Nigel Adkins has been mightily impressive, and they are still in a position to ‘do a Norwich’ and gain consecutive promotions up into the Premier League, but the wheels have fallen off a touch recently. In fact, Southampton have won just of their last six games, including defeats to Bristol City, Doncaster and Brighton. What looked a promotion march has been halted in its track somewhat.
Having lost to two strugglers in recent weeks, the club at the top of the Championship travels to its bottom club. If Southampton lose, the worriers at St Mary’s will have more fuel for concern.
United rarely feature on this particular page, such is the way that when the rare defeat comes along, it is inevitably followed by a swift and effective response. The worrying thing about the current United side is that when behind, they look unable to haul themselves back from the dead. Just ask the 2001/2 Spurs side if that used to be the case.
The stark reality is that United have gone out of half of their available trophies to comparative minnows. Two options remain, and their direct opponent in both looks to be their city rivals.
Come 3pm on Sunday, and the noisy neighbours may just be shouting loudest of all.
It is the best day of the footballing calendar. One where for two hours you can sit and watch the shocks roll on, praying that your side either avoids or causes depending on your preference.
Traditionally, FA Cup 3rd round day is best avoided for the gambler, as year after year you sit their and curse one Premier League team that has “f*cked you out of the best part of four grand”. That was 2009.
However, with the Premier League and Championship throwing up dodgier results than a lukewarm, reheated King Prawn Madras, why not swallow your pride and crack on. In any case, you’d only spend it on fast cars, women or food.
Discussing his side’s trip to neighbours Fleetwood Town in the FA Cup this weekend, Blackpool Chairman Karl Oyston has remarked:
“It’s a competition that neither club will win, without being defeatist. I’ve got tickets for Saturday, but I’m passing them on to other members of the family. I’m going to stay away. I’ll be monitoring the progress from afar, but I think it’s more important that people go who really want to go and are excited by it.”
Such an attitude can often come back to haunt you, and Oyston would be better advised to treat the tournament with the respect it deserves. And he will certainly see the excitement should non-league Fleetwood beat their rivals.
Fans on his back, and all the joy of a victory at Stamford Bridge eradicated by a horror show at home to promoted Swansea. Big ‘Eck already had his work cut out at Villa Park but it seems that, in terms of winning over the fans, he takes one step forward and three backwards.
Everything is set up for the upset: A fancied lower league side struggling for form, and with the manager recently sacked the players will be looking to show a potential incomer their talents. The game is live on the TV, and will extend into a cold January evening. One almost feels sorry for McLeish.
A manager whose days may be numbered. With Steve Bruce reportedly waiting in the wings, Paul Jewell has overseen a shocking recent run at Ipswich Town. Wins against Barnsley and Derby ended a streak of seven consecutive losses, but since then the club have picked up just a solitary point from games against Leicester, Reading and Nottingham Forest.
One might think that the FA Cup would therefore provide a degree of respite for Jewell, but his side travel to a Hull City side that occupy a playoff position in the Championship, and with a league game away at Birmingham on Wednesday, this may prove an important few days for the former Wigan and Derby boss.