The Big FA CUP Preview

The greatest competition on earth is back for all the clubs in League One and Two, have a look at our guide ahead of the action this weekend…


Notts County v Bristol Rovers

An interesting test here for Kevin Nolan’s side and a potential banana skin for The Gas. Will be great to see the Magpies test themselves against a good League One side but think they will find Rovers have a bit too much quality. Prediction: Away win


Port Vale v Oxford United

Vale lost 3-0 last time out to a physically strong Swindon. If Oxford can prevent balls from wide areas coming in to Tom Pope then they will be half way to victory but this is Oxford we are talking about.. Prediction: Home win


Hyde United v MK Dons

Hyde is a town in greater Manchester and the team, nicknamed The Tigers, play at the 4,250 capacity Ewen Fields. They suffered three straight relegations from 2013-14 to 2015-16 and now play in Northern Premier League Division One North. They host an MK Dons who have been in indifferent form so this could be an upset and you know we all love those but don’t quite see it happening. Prediction: Away win


Shaw Lane AFC v Mansfield Town

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Sheerien Park

Shaw Lane Association FC are based in Barnsley and the team, nicknamed The Ducks, play at the 2,000 capacity Sheerien Park. They trace their roots back to 1991 when an U11 team formed in the Shaw Lane Sports complex. Following growth and several mergers they named themselves Shaw Lane Aquaforce (great name!) in 2012 but had to drop the name due to rules on sponsorship. They take on Steve Evans’ Mansfield Town who have frustrated their own fans so far but possess way too much quality to allow an upset here. Prediction: Away win




AFC Wimbledon v Lincoln City

A great FA Cup tie in prospect between two teams that have not found the net regularly enough this season. Can the Cowley brothers weave that magic again? Prediction: Away win


Blackburn Rovers v Barnet

Blackburn have been slowly improving this season and appear to finally be getting used to League One. Barnet have had a torrid time this season and will really struggle to get through to the next round. Prediction: Home win


Boreham Wood v Blackpool

Boreham Wood are based in Borehamwood, Hertfordshire and the team, nicknamed The Wood, play at the 4,500 capacity Meadow Park. They play in the Conference National and are currently 10th in the table. They take on a Blackpool side that will be anxiously awaiting the outcome of the important court hearing on due on Monday but that won’t distract Gary Bowyer or his players. Prediction: Away win


Bradford City v Chesterfield

Chesterfield defensive woes, heightened by a lack of a decent defensive midfielder, will be just the cannon fodder The Bantams need. Jack Lester is getting improvements slowly but Bradford have a lot of quality. Prediction: Home win


Carlisle United v Oldham Athletic

Keith Curle will be hoping a break from the league will help his side break their troubles winning at home but they face an in form and rejuvenated Oldham side. Prediction: Away win


Cheltenham Town v Maidstone United

The Robins have made a lot of improvements over the last few games but that pales in comparison to that of their opponents. Maidstone are a club on the up and the National League outfit nicknamed The Stones play at the 4,191 capacity Gallagher Park, their home since 2012 ending 20 years of exile. The club were reformed in 1992 after financial problems and now play in the Conference National where they currently sit 5th in the table. Cheltenham have been impressive lately but cannot be complacent in this one. Prediction: Home win


Colchester United v Oxford City

The U’s are at home to Marston based Oxford City. The City as they are known, were the biggest club in the City in the early part of the 20th Century and play at the 3,218 capacity Marsh Lane. They are currently struggling down in 21st in the National League South. They will struggle to cope with a Colchester side that are very strong at home. Prediction: Home win


Crewe Alexandra v Rotherham United

Crewe will need to hope that Rotherham’s away day troubles continue if they are to get through this difficult 1st round tie. Keiffer Moore has 12 goals already this season and the Millers will be wanting to bounce back after a poor showing against Gillingham in the last match. Prediction: Away win


Ebbsfleet United v Doncaster Rovers

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Stonebridge Road

Ebbsfleet United, formerly known as Gravesend & Northfleet who were themselves formed in 1946 by the merger of Northfleet FC and Gravesend FC play at the 4,500 capacity Stonebridge Road and are nicknamed The Fleet. The club is most famous for the MyFootballClub takeover that saw 32,000 member each pay £35 to own an equal share in the club and vote on major decisions but the membership dropped off quickly to just 3,500 just two and a half years later. The club is now under Kuwaiti ownership and have a lot more off the field stability. They play in the Conference National and are currently 15th in the table. Doncaster will find them tough opponents but have more than enough quality to win here. Prediction: Away win



Forest Green Rovers v Macclesfield Town

Forest Green are taking on Macclesfield, a familiar opponent from their time in the National League. The Green Devils are on a bit of a streak having won their last three games and should beat the Silkmen who have lost their last two but still sit 2nd in the National League, an interesting game in prospect here. Prediction: Home win


Gillingham v Leyton Orient

Leyton Orient were subject to awful problems brought on by the disgraceful actions of uncaring owners last season but The Gills will not offer them any quarter in this one. Steve Lovell’s side come off the back of a wonderful 3-1 win at Rotherham and will be full of confidence going in to this First Round Tie. Prediction: Home win


Luton Town v Portsmouth

Looking forward to this one and I can see an upset on the cards. Luton were poor against Coventry last Saturday but have a great squad and can score goals for fun when on their game. Pompey have struggled to catch fire this season and are on a poor run, having lost their last three. Prediction: Home win


Morecambe v Hartlepool United

Two sides from opposite coasts meet at The Globe in this one and, despite early struggles The Pool are coming to terms with the National League having not lost in their last 5. Morecambe are in trouble and slipped into the League Two relegation zone after losing at Forest Green on Saturday. Prediction: Draw and a replay


Northampton Town v Scunthorpe United

Despite Northampton’s improvement under Hasselbaink I can’t see them beating a Scunthorpe side that are in the League One play-off places. Will not be an easy game for the Iron but with Josh Morris in form I think they will nick a win. Prediction: away win


Peterborough United v Tranmere Rovers

Peterborough take on last season’s National League Play-off finalist Tranmere in this one. The Birkenhead based club have been surprisingly poor this season so far and are currently 14th in the National League. The Posh have been stuttering in the last few games but managed to end Shrewsbury’s unbeaten run last time out so can take confidence from that. Prediction: Home win


Plymouth Argyle v Grimsby Town

Argyle’s inability to beat the Mariners at the end of last season cost them the title and so maybe they will be out for revenge here. The Pilgrims will welcome the distraction from a difficult league campaign and will have to watch out for dangerman Siriki Dembele. Prediction: Home win


Rochdale v Bromley

Dale take on a Bromley side that have been impressive this season, currently sitting in th pace in the National League. Nicknamed The Ravens, Bromley, based in Bromley Greater London, play at the 5,000 capacity Hayes Lane. They will not be a walkover and so Keith Hill’s side will need to be clinical and make sure they take their chances. With 7 goals already this season Jake Rees is the man to watch for the away side. Prediction: Home win


Shrewsbury Town v Aldershot Town

This is just the kind of fixture the Shrews need to bounce back from their first defeat of the season. They take on The Shots, currently 9th in the National League and will be confident of grabbing the win. Omar Beckles will be looking forward to playing against his old club who play their home games at the 7,100 capacity Recreation Ground. Prediction: Home win


Stevenage v Nantwich Town

Pressure is on for Darren Sarll in this one but he knows his side, despite a recent poor run, have more than enough quality to defeat the Cheshire based club. The away side, nicknamed the Dabbers, a reference to the Town’s tanning history, play their home games at the 3,500 capacity Weaver Stadium. Nantwich currently play their football in the Northern Premier League Premier Division and won the FA Vase in 2005-06. Prediction: Home win


Wigan Athletic v Crawley Town

Arguably the best team in the bottom two divisions, wigan will likely makelight work of goal shy Crawley. Harry Kewell’s side have really struggled in front of net but have been solid at the back in recent matches keeping both Luton and Lincoln at bay in their last Two outings. Prediction: Home win


Yeovil Town v Southend United

Thrashing Stevenage last time out will give the Glovers confidence going into this one. They face a Southend side that are poor on the road but The Shrimpers did managed to beat Walsall on Saturday at the Bescott so maybe their away day worries are behind them. Prediction: Away win


Newport County v Walsall

Jon Whitney is under fire right now and will not be looking forward to taking his Saddlers to Rodney Parade in this potential banana skin of an FA Cup tie. If the Exiles can keep Erhan Oztumer quiet then they have a great chance. Prediction: Home win


Cambridge United v Sutton United

Last season saw Sutton United really light up the FA Cup only slightly tarnished by Piegate. They will find Cambridge big and physical with a lot of the creative play coming through Jevani Brown. I can’t see them recreating the heroics of last season despite the form of danger man Tommy Wright. Nicknamed the U’s or the Amber and Chocolates (not a great one for the home fans to chant!) they play their home matches at the 5,013 capacity Gander Green Lane and they currently sit 4th in the National League. Prediction: Home win


Charlton Athletic v Truro City

Cornwall have never had a side represent them in the Football League but Truro City Chairman Pete Masters wants the White Tigers to be the first. Based at the 3,500 capacity Treyew Road the club are currently 6th in the National League South. Truro City, who won the FA Vase in 2006-07 have had many problems getting plans for a new stadium approved and this has held the club back in their ambitions. They have never reached the First Round Proper before and will enjoy their trip to The Valley to take on an in form Charlton side. Prediction: Home win


Coventry City v Maidenhead United

The Sky Blues face a Maidenhead side that have been playing really well this season and the Berkshire based side are currently 11th in the National League and unbeaten in their last four. The Magpies, as they are known, play their home games at the 4,000 capacity York Road and despite losing top scorer Dave Tarpey to Barnet, still have the goal scoring of Adrian Clifton to call upon. Mark Robin’s men should aim to make a fast start in this one to settle any nerves. Prediction: Home win


Dartford v Swindon Town

The Robins travel to Kent to take on The Darts in this first round match up. Dartford play their home games at the environmentally friendly, 4,100 capacity Princes Park and are currently top of the National League South. Elliot Bradbrook has 9 goals already this term and is one to watch out for. Swindon may find the Darts a more tricky opponent than they expect and I sense an upset in this one. Prediction: Home win


Exeter City v Heybridge Swifts

The Grecians take on a side with one of the coolest names in football in this first round tie. Heybridge, known as Swifts, play their home games at the 3,000 capacity Scraley Road and have reached the first round of the FA Cup three times before. The Essex based club will find Exeter a really tough opponent and I can’t see the Isthmian League North Division outfit getting through this one. Prediction: Home win


Guiseley v Accrington Stanley

Guiseley AFC are based in West Yorkshire and play their home games at the 4,000 capacity Nethermoor Park. Nickname The Lions the are currently 20th in the National League and take on an Accrington team that are on fire. John Coleman will have his team well motivated for this one and a good FA Cup run could give Stanley some much needed extra income. Prediction: Away win


Solihull Moors v Wycombe Wanderers

Formed in 2007 by the merger of Moor Green and Solihull Borough, Solihull Moors herald from Solihull, West Midlands, one of the most affluent areas in the country outside London. Nicknamed The Moors, the play their home games at the 4,313 capacity Damson Park. They play their football in the National League where they currently sit bottom of the table. Wycombe have a great FA Cup history of their own and will be strong favourites in this one. Prediction: Away win


Woking v Bury

The Cardinals take on the Shakers in what should be an intriguing first round tie. Club secretary Geoff Chapple led them to FA Cup folklore after they famously beat West Bromwich Albion 4-2 in 1990-91 and managerless Bury could be in for a surprise at the 6,036 capacity Kingfield Stadium. Woking currently play in the National League and are 8th in the table going into this one with Joe Ward the man to look out for. Can the Cards make some more FA Cup history here? Prediction: Home win


Chorley v Fleetwood Town

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Victory Park, Chorley

Heralding from Lancashire, Chorley, known as The Magpies, will be hoping to cause an upset against Uwe Rosler’s Fleetwood. Currently 6th in the table, the National League North side play their home games at the 4,100 capacity Victory Park and when founded in 1875 they were actually a Rugby Union team but made the sensible switch to football in 1883. Despite home advantage Fleetwood will probably be too strong for them in this Monday night fixture. Prediction: Away win


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