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Saturday 27 February 2021

FA Cup preview: How to fill out your weekend football accumulator

You mightn’t win anything, but you could fill it out this way.

Roberto Martinez will hope for FA Cup success again this year.
Roberto Martinez will hope for FA Cup success again this year.
Image: Martin Rickett/PA Archive/Press Association Images

All games kick-off at 3pm Saturday unless otherwise stated.

Blackburn Rovers v Manchester City – Saturday, 12.45pm

Blackburn have been solid, if not spectacular, in the Championship this season, sitting just two points behind Ipswich in the final playoff spot. With three wins in the last five matches, including an away win at Leeds last weekend, confidence levels will be high for Gary Bowyer’s men.

However, they face a Manchester City team unbeaten in 12 — winning 11 — and whose League Cup form shows that, even when they rotate their squad, they remain a frightening proposition.

Bet: Manchester City @ 3/10

Everton v Queens Park Rangers

Defeat at bottom club Sunderland and a last gasp draw with Stoke over the festive period is not the greatest form to bring into this game but Roberto Martinez will be keen to become the first manager to win successive FA Cups with different clubs.

On Saturday, they face an equally inconsistent QPR who have only won four of their last 10 but who still sit third in the Championship. Harry Redknapp’s side’s focus will probably be on returning to the Premier League at the first attempt rather than a cup run.

Bet: Everton @ 2/5

Aston Villa @ Sheffield United

Paul Lambert clearly doesn’t care about the FA Cup so why should his team? With Villa only six points above the relegation zone, the Scot has admitted the competition is something his side could do without.

Sheffield United’s loss to Walsall last time out was their first defeat since mid-November and Villa’s indifference to the game, as well as their terrible home form gives United every reason to be hopeful in this game.

Bet: Sheffield United @ 11/2

Bournemouth v Burton Albion

Bournemouth sit 16th in the Championship and are unbeaten in their last four league matches. However, the Cherries have been inconsistent at home with five wins, five losses and two draws and will be resting key players including Matt Ritchie and Elliott Ward this weekend.

Burton Albion are enjoying life in League Two and, having put together an unbeaten run of 10 games in all competitions, currently sit second in the table, just two points off leaders Scunthorpe.

Bet: Burton Albion @ 5/1

Ipswich Town v Preston North End

Mick McCarthy opted to rest leading scorer David McGoldrick for his side’s 1-1 draw with Charlton on New Year’s Day but the 26-year old will expect to add to his 11 goals this term if he starts against Preston.

Stephen Hunt will also be in the squad for Ipswich who will have to pay close attention to Preston striker Joe Garner who has bagged nine goals in his last eight games.

Bet: Ipswich @ 4/5

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imageImage: Nigel French/EMPICS Sport

Middlesbrough v Hull City

Aitor Karanka has revitalised Middlesbrough since replacing Tony Mowbray as boss and his side are unbeaten in their last four games, having won three in a row before late slip ups against Bolton last time out saw them drop two points.

Hull have won just one of their last seven — a 6-0 thumping of Fulham — but it’s very difficult to know just how Steve Bruce’s men will approach this game after resting players for their loss to Liverpool on New Year’s Day.

Bet: Draw @ 23/10

Grimsby Town v Huddersfield Town

Grimsby have lost just once in their last 16 matches including a 2-1 win at League Two Scunthorpe in the last round and the Mariners are one of just three non-league teams left in the competition.

They face mid Championship Huddersfield in the third round and with the Terriers winning only once in their last six matches, an upset could be on the cards here.

Bet: Grimsby Town @ 10/3

Nottingham Forest v West Ham United – Sunday, 12pm

It’s been three seasons since Nottingham Forest reached the fourth round of the FA Cup but they couldn’t have asked for a better Premier League side to play this weekend than West Ham who have no wins in their last six games and a League Cup semi final next week.

Forest have drawn an awful lot of games lately (five in their last ten) but were unbeaten in December and will be brimming with confidence as they look to claim a cup upset.

Bet: Nottingham Forest @ evens

Liverpool v Oldham – Sunday, 3pm

This is the third meeting between these two sides in three seasons but this Liverpool side won’t suffer the same fate that befell Brendan Rodger’s men last year when the Latics caused a massive upset with a 3-2 home win.

While Liverpool sit in a Champions League spot despite a difficult Christmas fixture list, Oldham are 19th in League One, level on points with Crewe in the final relegation spot. Survival,  not a cup scalp, must be the priority for Lee Johnson’s side.

Bet: Liverpool @ 1/7

Port Vale v Plymouth Argyle

Plymouth Argyle had a great Christmas period, picking up 10 points from a possible 12 but they will be without on-loan striker Caolan Lavery — who has scored three in his last four games — as parent club Sheffield Wednesday don’t want him cup-tied.

Port Vale had won nine in 13 before last weekend’s defeat to fellow League One playoff hopefuls Preston and Mickey Adam’s men will hope to have too much for a side sitting 12th in League Two.

Bet: Port Vale @ 10/11

Accumulator: Let’s face it, I’m no Paul Fennessy so I’ll be glad if even half of these come in. If they do, a €10 stake will net you €81,768.96

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About the author:

Steve O'Rourke

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