Just 90 minutes stand between the clubs and a potential trip to the likes of Wembley, Old Trafford, or Anfield. That can only mean one thing: it’s FA Cup second round weekend.
It’s sure to be a fascinating weekend of action, and we hope it’ll be be a profitable one too thanks to our three chosen teams. We’re backing them all to seal their place in round three without the need for a replay.
Let’s hope they can get our December off to a flyer!
Bradford City V Plymouth Argyle
League One rivals Bradford and Plymouth are enjoying very different seasons. While the hosts are bidding for promotion, the visitors are rock bottom of the league. With the Bantams playing at home in this one, that league form is likely to transfer itself into the cup encounter at Valley Parade.
The Pilgrims defied the odds to clinch an away league win against Bradford just three weeks ago, and will be optimistic about their chances of another big performance. Nonetheless, the fact they’ve lost five and won just two of their 10 away league games would suggest that a cupset is unlikely. In truth, Derek Adams men would be more than happy with a replay, even if it would mean an extra game.
Bradford’s home record isn’t as strong as it was last term, and is something Stuart McCall needs to address if his side are going to clinch promotion. This cup clash is a welcome distraction from a three game losing streak on home soil and, if Charlie Wyke and co. perform, gives them a great opportunity to rebuild some confidence.
Neither side is in particularly great form, although Bradford have won two on the spin away from home to sandwich their most recent home loss. It could go either way, but we’re backing the hosts to edge it.
GillinghamV Carlisle United
Steve Lovell still faces a lot of work if he is going to repair the damage caused by his predecessors at Priestfield, but the League One outfit are looking in far better shape than they were a few weeks back. Despite still sitting in their division’s drop zone, an unbeaten run of seven competitive game has restored belief. Expect it to show against Carlisle in the cup.
Gillingham have scored a lot of goals in recent weeks, and Tom Eaves and co. should see a home clash against lower league opposition as another chance to show what they can do. Given that they are in desperate need of turning home draws into wins in the league, this match could prove to be a catalyst for improved league fortunes too, especially if they can register a shutout.
The visitors from League Two do score an OK amount of away goals, but they do concede a fair few too. Having previously been on a decent away run, the 3-0 loss to Luton gives Keith Curle a real headache as he bids to get his side going. Sadly for them, that loss of momentum could be pivotal.
With a place in the third round up for grabs, both sides will be eager to perform. On this occasion, the impetus has to be with the Gills. Home win.
MK Dons V Maidstone United
League One outfit MK Dons have been far from impressive this season, and they’ve shared the points on far too many occasions at home. There won’t be any points on offer this weekend, though, and Robbie Neilson’s men really should be looking at a win against their National League opponents.
Despite the disappointing defeats, a run of just three defeats in 12 games is fairly promising, especially as one came against Premier League side Swansea. Moreover, the fact that the goals have been shared around the team could be a positive as they look to make their added quality all over the pitch known in this vital cup clash.
Maidstone are performing well in their league, not least on the road where they’ve won six of 10 matches. Nonetheless, the step up in quality is something that naturally makes them huge underdogs. Meanwhile, it certainly doesn’t help that they enter the clash on the back of two straight 4-0 losses against Tranmere and Boreham Wood
There’s a good chance that Jay Saunders’ men can make the gap look a lot smaller than it is. Nonetheless, the MK Dons should prevail on home turf.