FA Cup Fourth Round Preview

Another eventful game of the week last weekend – will red cards in Luton’s games become a theme:

That’s Peterborough’s third defeat in their last five games and currently leaves them in a kind of no-man’s land competing for the last playoff position with Doncaster. Portsmouth surprisingly lost at Oxford, which means Luton are just two points away from overtaking Pompey.

Due to participation by  League One clubs in games in two different competitions this weekend, I’ve split the post into two sections this week – starting with the FA Cup. The preview for Gillingham‘s game at Swansea will appear on Buzzin’ Championship Football: all games are 3pm kick offs on Saturday afternoon unless stated.

Accrington Stanley v Derby County (12:30pm, BT Sport 2)

Reaching this round equals Accrington’s best performance in the competition: Stanley have reached the Fourth Round twice before, most recently in 2017. The last time Derby played a competitive game in Accrington was against the previous version of Stanley in November 1956 – a goalless draw in the old Third Division South during the period where ‘The Owd Reds’ were arguably at their best, narrowly missing out on promotion to the old Second Division on a couple of occasions.

Unsurprisingly given the comparative records of the teams since then, this is their first meeting in any competition since then.

Shrewsbury v Wolves

First meeting at the Meadow in the FA Cup for 40 years, but the most recent game between the clubs in Shropshire was in September 2013 when Wolves won 1-0. Shrews reached the Fifth Round a couple of seasons ago, but before that you’ve got to go back to 1991 for a similar feat – they lost 1-0 at home to Arsenal – and I think they’ll have to be satisfied with a similar result in this one.

Doncaster Rovers v Oldham Athletic

This is probably Rovers’ best chance of reaching the Fifth Round since 1956! This game will be their sixth meeting in the FA Cup in the last 12 years, the last contest was in Yorkshire was in November 2007 when Oldham won a replay.

Portsmouth v QPR

This game suddenly represents a dilemma for the hosts: with their lead cut to a point, what should Kenny Jackett’s side concentrate on for the rest of the season? The last time Pompey got past this round they were beaten finalists, but it’s been over 20 years sine they last beat QPR in any competition at Fratton Park. I still think there’s a potential surprise here: QPR have only won one of their last six away games in the Championship and one of their last seven road trips in the FA Cup over the past decade.

AFC Wimbledon v West Ham (Saturday. 7:45pm BT Sport 1)

It’s the first ever appearance in the Fourth Round for the Wombles; The only previous meeting between the teams was last August in the League Cup. West Ham won 3-1 and that sort of result looks as if it could be repeated.

It’s probably just as well that this is an FA Cup weekend because otherwise Peterborough v Charlton would have been game of the week and that would have been the Peterbough’s fifth appearance in that category this season. I’m going to ignore the Posh angle this week as I’ve not mentioned The Addicks for a while: they’ve lost half of their last ten aways but they’re currently on a nine game unbeaten streak at the Valley that’s kept them in playoff contention. Over the last nine years the clubs have met four times in the league: both teams have won twice, but Charlton haven’t won at London Road since November 2010.

If anything surprising happens in the cup, I’ll update ASAP otherwise I’ll be back next Friday.