The Emirates FA Cup goes up a gear this weekend as the First Round Proper pits the Non-League outfits who’ve impressed in qualifying against Football League heavyweights like Sheffield United, Swindon Town and Walsall.
But while the odds may be stacked against the clubs from the lower echelons, this magnificent competition always throws up a few shocks along the way. Here are four sides the Ladbrokes News team are backing to spring a surprise this weekend.
Eastleigh v Swindon Town
National League Eastleigh may lie two divisions below tomorrow night’s visitors, but their impressive home form and Emirates FA Cup pedigree mean the Spitfires are appealingly priced for victory at 19/10.
The Spitfires beat Crewe Alexandra in the First Round Proper last season, and were four minutes away from reaching the Fourth Round before a Bolton Wanderers revival.
Six wins in their last eight at Silverlake Stadium should also worry a Robins side who have won just once in as many games on the road.
MK Dons v Spennymoor Town
Stadium:MK has been short on home comforts in recent times, with the Dons losing 10 of their last 14 games in Buckinghamshire – their only triumph being a penalty shoot-out win over Barnet in August’s EFL Trophy meeting.
By contrast, their visitors are unbeaten in seven on the road – including a 5-1 thrashing of Rushall Olympic. It’s 11/1 for the North-East outfit to inflict another defeat on the Dons, while it’s 50/1 they really rub it in and win by a two-goal margin.
Peterborough United v Chesham United
When Ladbrokes News caught up with Chesham boss Andy Leese earlier this week, he was in confident mood about the Generals’ chances of beating Football League opposition for the second year running.
And with good reason. Last season’s 1-0 First Round victory over Bristol Rovers showed they can mix it with the big boys, while four wins in a row heading into this game finds the visitors in great form.
Posh are decidedly hit and miss under Grant McCann, so the 9/1 for them to fall foul of their optimistic visitors is well worth a flutter.
Boreham Wood v Notts County
It’s all good for the Wood right now, with Luke Garrard’s men boasting five wins and three clean sheets from their last six games. And with star striker Morgan Ferrier banging in the goals, they can also cause the Magpies plenty of problems at the other end.
You have to go back four years for the last time Notts County won an Emirates FA Cup game, so the 2/1 for the Wood to advance with a home win looks well-priced.
Fancy the underdogs to have a First Round to remember? You can back four or more teams to beat a side from a higher division at Evens, as part of our Emirates FA Cup Specials.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing