The festive period may be over for another year, but FA Cup third round weekend is the perfect pick me up for all football fans. And there could be no better way to celebrate one of the sporting calendar highlights than with a winning treble at odds of over 11/2.
That’s exactly what we’re aiming to do by backing these three teams on Saturday afternoon. Let’s hope they can all book their places in round four to provide us with a tidy profit.
Barrow v Rochdale
Keith Hill’s Rochdale would have loved a home tie, but an away trip to non-league Barrow gives the League One outfit a great chance to reach the fourth round. However, with a promotion chase on their hands too, they’ll want to achieve that goal without the need for a replay.
Dale are more than capable of claiming a win at Holker Street, and they should be confident after winning five straight matches over the festive period. Their away form in the league isn’t brilliant, but the quality of Ian Henderson and co. should shine through against inferior opposition.
This is a massive opportunity for Barrow too. Nonetheless, Paul Cox’s men will be primarily focused on rediscovering their league form after dropping out of the National League play-off zone. Even without this factor, it’s hard to overlook their current form of one win in five competitive matches.
Barrow can make life difficult for their opponents. Sadly for the home fans, though, Rochdale have the quality and confidence to pass the test with flying colours.
Huddersfield Town v Port Vale
Championship side Huddersfield have been fantastic at the John Smith’s Stadium this term whilst they additionally enter this weekend’s action on the back of a seven game unbeaten streak. That should be the recipe for another victory in the FA Cup, particularly as they take on lower league opposition.
The Terriers have won of 12 Championship home games, and can rely on the goals of Elias Kachunga and Nahki Wells for inspiration here. Meanwhile, their defence doesn’t tend to concede too often, which could be another key factor against an away side that only scores once every two away games – in the division below!
Worryingly for Vale, they also concede a lot on the road. In League One, it’s 22 in 12 games. Quite frankly, playing at home in the last two rounds has been the main reason they’re at this stage of the competition. But their journey is likely to end here.
Anything can happen in the cup, but everything about this one points towards a home victory.
QPR v Blackburn Rovers
Championship rivals QPR and Blackburn have both endured difficult seasons, but they’ve also picked up points in their last couple of league games. This FA Cup clash could be a little bit of an unwanted distraction for both sides, but it’s Rovers who have the far greater need to concentrate on league survival. That could be telling at Loftus Road.
Rovers have registered four points from their last two games, but Owen Coyle’s side remain in the relegation zone and will be far more interested in three points at Ipswich next week. That’s not to say Danny Graham and co. can’t cause problems for the hosts, but it’s unlikely that a team boasting just two away wins is likely to blow QPR away – particularly as the Hoops are improving.
Ian Holloway’s men enter the clash on the back of consecutive 2-1 victories, creating a fair amount of breathing space above the bottom three. That will allow them to give this cup clash more attention, and could be crucial as they look to book a place in round four.
The league encounter enter at Loftus Road ended all square back in September. Neither side will want a replay, though. On this occasion, we’re backing the hosts to edge through.