Peter Reid joked that he’d be looking to do former clubs Bolton, Everton and Sunderland a favour this afternoon, but few fans of those sides will be rushing to thank their former hero following the FA Cup quarter-final draw.
Instead it is the sides less in need of a helping hand who will be grateful to Reid and Wayne Allison for providing home draws – pending tricky replays of course.
Despite failing to see off Stevenage at the first attempt, Spurs are 5/2 remain favourites to win the FA Cup for the first time since 1991 after being given a potential plum home draw against Bolton.
Owen Coyle’s men may well have comfortably seen off Millwall yesterday, but their main priority will be preserving their Premier League status given their current position second bottom of the league.
Having got past a hapless Brighton outfit at Anfield this afternoon, second favourites Liverpool (7/2) were another side handed a welcome home tie, though given the way Stoke negotiated their trip to Crawley today with ten-men for much of the game, Tony Pulis will be confident of at least having enough to bring the seven-time winners back to the Britannia.
Given Chelsea’s recent form – not to mention Birmingham’s resurgence – Andre Villas-Boas’ men have it all to do at St Andrew’s before they can even consider the quarter-finals.
But they now know that reward for a Midlands win is a home tie against an inconsistent Leicester team yet to record two consecutive wins this season, and explains why their odds on FA Cup success has come in from 5/1 to 9/2.
Arguably the toughest tie to call though is the game at Goodison Park, as Martin O’Neill’s Sunderland travel to Everton with both mid-table sides in good form and in the advantageous position of not battling relegation.
Recent history dictates that Moyes’ men should be confident of progressing, however, given that Sunderland haven’t won at Goodison since 1996, and indeed haven’t beaten Everton home or away since 2001 – which explains why Everton have come shortened from 7/1 to 5/1.
FA Cup Quarter-Final draw in full:
EVERTON v SUNDERLAND
STEVENAGE or SPURS v BOLTON
CHELSEA or BIRMINGHAM v LEICESTER
BRIGHTON or LIVERPOOL v STOKE
Ties will be played weekend March 17th and 18th