A lot to get through this week, so let’s start with an old fashioned FA Cup shock:
Wimbledon’s reward in the Fifth Round: a home tie against Millwall. Let’s not forget Doncaster, who beat Oldham and have been drawn against Crystal Palace in their first Fifth Round tie since 1956.
Next week’s replays should be interesting: Wolves v Shrewsbury (the winner will travel to Bristol City) and QPR v Portsmouth, with the prospect of a home tie against Watford.
Away from the FA Cup, the big news was that Steve Evans was replaced as manager of Peterborough by Darren Ferguson. Evans had been in the job for just under a year and although the timing was a surprise, it’s not hard to see why Darragh MacAnthony made the decision. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I think the expectation at London Road was that Evans should have been pushing for automatic promotion at this point in the season but the fact that Posh don’t seem to have made any noticeable progress under Evans since he was appointed hadn’t gone unnoticed.
The decision to appoint Ferguson for the third time in the last dozen years seems to have been driven by nostalgia rather than ability. Fergie Junior left Peterborough almost exactly four years ago with the club in 15th place but only four points off the playoff spots; it’s been six years since Peterborough were relegated from the Championship and since then they’ve finished no higher than sixth. Added to that is his record at Doncaster, whom he left last summer: on his appointment there he was supposed to have turned Donny into ‘a sustainable Championship club’, which presumably didn’t include a spell in League Two.
Overall, this looks a lot like clutching at straws to me. I’ll give it until Christmas.
Just a couple of games to monitor this weekend: Shrewsbury host leaders Luton at the New Meadow. Under any other circumstances the Shrews could be forgiven for having one eye on their FA Cup replay at Wolves next week, but it’s only goal difference that’s keeping them out of the bottom four at the moment and with matches against Doncaster and Peterborough to come this month they really do need to concentrate on the league.
AFC Wimbledon’s win last weekend is even more remarkable when you consider that they’re eight points away from safety and hadn’t won at home since Boxing Day. The win at Wycombe just before Christmas snapped a seven consecutive game streak without an away victory, but they’ve lost three of their four away matches against the sides currently in the top six whilst Sunderland haven’t lost at home in the league this season.