In general these days the competition sees fewer upsets than previously. Pitches are better, squad depth in the top division is strong and the impact of inevitable rotation after the busy Christmas Period is limited. Last season did see some opportunities in sides from Leagues one and two playing Championship sides in the third round, with four wins and three draws amongst those ties.
Accrington Stanley v Ipswich Town Saturday 3pm
Ipswich are bottom of the Championship having won two league games all season scoring 21 goals in 26 matches with no discernible improvement in form since the appointment of Paul Lambert in October. The squad desperately needs in investment in the transfer window upcoming. However that’s not an easy call for decade long owner Marcus Evans. Latest financial figures show that the club is £95m in debt to him, made a pre-tax loss of £5m last year and is experiencing higher wage bills and lower gate receipts. It looks likely that this will come to a head in relegation and then cutting the cloth accordingly with a restructuring of the club on the field.
A visit to Accrington for a struggling side isn’t that appetising a prospect at the compact Wham Stadium (yes, really) which holds 5,500. Accrington under John Coleman were promoted out of League two last season despite the joint lowest budget in the division and have established themselves in League One, currently in the top ten which of course is quite the over-achievement and testament to Coleman’s team building and eye for talent which typically needs replacing when several players are poached every summer.
With these two sides likely to be in the same division next season, and Ipswich really struggling this, this should be prime territory for an upset. You have to question Ipswich’s appetite for this game given their upcoming priorities
Accrington Stanley to beat Ipswich Town 31/20 Bet365 and William Hill