Football / FA Cup: Blackburn grab Marine's attention

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The Independent Online
THERE ARE enough ifs and buts to bring serious congestion to Wembley's approach roads but with a little imagination last night's draw for the fourth round of the FA Cup comes to life.

Roly Howard, the manager of Marine - the last non-League survivors - and a window cleaner has good reason to peer through their opposition in the third round game they are still waiting to play and towards the prize of a home tie with Blackburn. Dalglish Towers is part of his round and the Blackburn manager might be advised to leave a late Christmas box by the ladder.

Crewe are first in line for Marine and Howard said: 'It could not have been better stage-managed. If we get through it will be brilliant to play a Premier League side.'

Elsewhere Arsenal will receive Leeds in a clash of recent champions; Manchester United, the 5/1 favourites, will face Brighton their opponents in the 1983 final; holders Liverpool will visit Wolves who are at this stage for the first time in 10 years and the 1991 winners Tottenham must go to the current Premier League leaders in Norwich. Or at least they will if replays and those ties delayed by the weather observe league standings. Fifty-three teams entered the bag and not a single clear-cut pairing came out.

There was nothing to persuade Hartlepool's heroes to prolong the celebrations which followed their humbling of Crystal Palace. An away game at either Sheffield United or Burnley was not their first choice although there's a cash bonus if it is to be Bramall Lane, as there is also for impoverished Brighton if they are to go to Old Trafford for the second time this season.

Nottingham Forest were the last to guarantee their place in the draw and fittingly their 'No 1' ball came out first. A visit from Middlesbrough or Chelsea awaits.

Another of the elder statesmen, Malcolm Allison, can prepare for a third tilt at the big boys if Bristol Rovers complete the job they began at Aston Villa. Either Everton or Wimbledon are next up.