Could the FA Cup prove magical for this weekend’s bet slips?
Middlesbrough Vs Newport County
Boro to pick up from where they left off in the last round.
Middlesbrough have had a low scoring season, but overall a relatively successful one thus far.
They take on League 2’s Newport County, whose league games have seen more goals than any other side in the division. Largely down to them shipping an almost impressive 45 goals this season.
Newport have struggled greatly on the road this season, claiming just 12 points. Bearing in mind, that is against teams two divisions below their Saturday opponents.
In regards to their opponents, Middlesbrough have only conceded 9 goals at home this season. They also head in to the tie having seen off Peterborough in style in the previous round, as they ran out 5-0 winners.
Newport have also struggled for form recently, scoring just 6 goals in their previous 6 games and chalking up just one win.
I’m expecting Boro to show no mercy and really turn the screw against vulnerable opposition.
John Obi Mikel could be in line to make his debut. Middlesbrough have suffered a flu outbreak at the club but I don’t see this affecting the result. Tony Pulis has said this means he is unable to shuffle the pack and will pick the best of what he has available.
Portsmouth Vs Queens Park Rangers
Is this an upset if Pompey win?
The former FA cup winners will have Fratton Park absolutely rocking on Saturday for the visit of Championship side QPR.
Pompey have maintained their huge fanbase consistently despite their decline through the divisions. A decline that is well and truly over, as Pompey lead the pack in league 1 as they aim for back to back promotions.
The visitors average just one goal a game away from home and have only registered 3 wins in their last 10 games.
Pompey haven’t had the best run recently as they’ve won just 2 of their last 6. However I do see them getting on the front foot early and really putting their opponents under pressure.
But if QPR can ride out the pressure, their championship credentials could shine through and give them a real chance of getting a result.
A replay wouldn’t be ideal for either side in regards to their retrospective campaigns, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a possibility.
QPR are off the back of a 4-1 home defeat to Preston and are missing Massimo Luongo, Geoff Cameron, Tomer Hemed and Angel Rangel.
Swansea Vs Gillingham
Swans to stamp their authority.
Swansea are unbeaten in their last 5 in all competitions, which includes their superb 3-0 win away at Aston villa in the last round.
The home side have a few injury concerns and are waiting on the likes of Nathan Dyer to have their availability confirmed.
There may be a chance for some players who’ve lacked minutes to impress, such as Barry McKay.
Last time out Swansea secured a fantastic 1-0 victory against high flying Sheffield United and manager Graham Potter has spoke of the players needing the desire to win every single game.
By comparison, Gillingham are in very patchy form and go in to this game off the back off a 3-0 home defeat to Walsall.
The draw was kind to Swansea, and Potter will want his side to maintain their momentum with a key league game against Birmingham next up for the Welsh side.
AFC Wimbledon Vs West Ham
Woeful Wimbledon unlikely to see any FA Cup magic.
This game could easily be earmarked as a potential giant killing.
The reality though, is that Wimbledon boast a truly awful home record this season. Winning just 3 games, and scoring only 9 goals.
The teams met back in August where Wimbledon fell to a 3-1 defeat despite leading after just 2 minutes. A scintillating spell in the second half saw the premier league side overturn the early deficit.
I can see this game taking a similar structure. Wimbledon don’t keep clean sheets and will struggle to keep the hammers at bay. With West Ham’s campaign really kicking up a gear, any changes will see players desperate to make an impact to become a more regular part of the premier league squads.
I can see goals in this game, particularly in favour of the visitors.
The Hammers will be bolstered by the potential return of electric full back Ryan Fredericks who could see a lot of joy if he plays.
Middlesbrough -1 Handicap match result @ 2.0
Swansea to win @ 1.44
Portsmouth win and draw double chance @ 1.36
West ham to win and over 2.5 goals @ 2.1