Why the FA Cup 3rd Round Draw has been kind to the League Two clubs

If you’re a fan of any League Two side left in the FA Cup, then the 3rd round draw has in all fairness been kind for those all those sides.

No League Two side will face each other and some will be relishing either the home tie and the hope of a giant-killing or the away trip to a new stadium and the bumper pay-day that can see a club remain financially stable until the end of the season or beyond.

Coventry City and Newport County will both look at their home ties as potential winnable games, with visits from Stoke City and Leeds Utd to come.

With the visitors having their eyes on Premier League survival given their current form and promotion aspirations for the latter, both could field under-strength teams giving a glimmer of hope or two for the underdogs.

The joint leaders of the division Luton and Notts County both travel, the former to Newcastle who again will have eyes possibly on the bigger prize and rotate their squad, the latter down to London to face the Bees of West London.

Both teams are in good form and if they sustain it over the Christmas and New Year period the chances of an upset with stack heavily in their favour.

Stevenage and Wycombe have both drawn Championship opposition at home, and with Reading and Preston both harbouring hopes of the play offs come May time, it could be a further two home wins for our League Two clubs.

Mansfield face potentially the hardest task, a trip to promotion seeking Cardiff City who currently sit in 2nd place in the Championship table and like those mentioned above may well have their eyes on bigger prizes and give the outsiders belief that this could be their day.

Even the sides needing to get through a replay will be pleased with home draws if they progress, the all-League Two clash between Forest Green and Exeter draws Premier League strugglers West Brom into a game they might be prepared to give up to keep that coveted top flight status and the cash that goes with it.

If Crewe and Carlisle can edge past Blackburn and Gillingham, home ties await them and Championship opposition in both cases in the form of Hull and Sheffield Wednesday.

With the financial opportunities so big within the game at the higher levels, there is every reason to believe we will see some cup upsets come the first weekend of January as the FA Cup demands a much lower profile for these clubs that seek monetary gain as opposed to winning trophies.

Certainly, a few of the League Two clubs will be hopeful of some television exposure although you can expect those to be shunned for the all Premier League ties which the TV companies seem to favour despite the coverage they get all year round.

But, with around 3 weeks until these ties take place, the landscape could look much different with as many as 3-5 games for clubs in between now and early January.

Some will be more relaxed with their team selections, some will take a chance and some will take no chances and field a strong eleven, either way you’ve got to back the underdog haven’t you?


Written by Trevor Knell

Follow Trevor on Twitter @trevk37

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