5 FA Cup ties with upset potential

Mark Walker, PA
·3-min read

The eagerly-anticipated FA Cup third round unfolds this weekend and plenty of big clubs will be hoping to avoid a potential banana skin.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at five of this year’s ties which have the potential for a major upset.

Bristol Rovers v Sheffield United

Chris Wilder, left, is consoled by Roy Hodgson after his side's 15th Premier League defeat of the season at Crystal Palace last Saturday
Chris Wilder, left, is consoled by Roy Hodgson after his side’s 15th Premier League defeat of the season at Crystal Palace last Saturday (John Walton/PA)

Rovers, 18th in Sky Bet League One with games in hand, have won four of their last five in all competitions and are ready to ambush the Blades, who have yet to win a game this season. Chris Wilder’s rock-bottom side have made the worst-ever start by a Premier League club and the Pirates will relish the chance to heap more misery on them.

Chorley v Derby

Chorley's players celebrate Mike Calveley's winner in the second round at Peterborough
Chorley’s players celebrate Mike Calveley’s winner in the second round at Peterborough (Joe Giddens/PA)

National League North side Chorley may never get a better chance to create more history by reaching the fourth round. Wayne Rooney and Derby’s entire first-team squad went into isolation this week after an outbreak of coronavirus forced the club to close their training ground and they will be fielding a team made up of under-23 and under-18 players.

Crawley v Leeds

Histon's players and fans celebrated a famous FA Cup victory over Leeds in 2008
Histon’s players and fans celebrated a famous FA Cup victory over Leeds in 2008 (Chris Radburn/PA)

Leeds have fallen victim to more famous FA Cup giant-killings than most down the years. Newport, Sutton and Rochdale have all humiliated the West Yorkshire club in recent seasons and who can forget their humbling by Histon in 2008? John Yems’ Crawley, unbeaten in their last eight League Two games, are in promotion form and will take plenty of heart.

Blackpool v West Brom

West Brom’s only win in the Premier League this season was against fellow strugglers Sheffield United and a January trip to the seaside is the last thing boss Sam Allardyce would have wanted. The Baggies lost on their last visit to Bloomfield Road in 2010 when both sides were in the top flight and although Blackpool’s League One form has faltered in December, a cup upset could kickstart their play-off challenge.

Marine v Tottenham

Marine, from the eighth tier of the football pyramid and the lowest-ranked team left in the competition, are still pinching themselves at the prospect of pulling off one of the biggest upsets in FA Cup history against Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham. It is such a long shot – 1-20 with bookmakers – but the Northern League side, whose side includes teachers and NHS workers, will relish every minute.