Football: Match-by-match guide to today's FA Cup third-round matches

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Aston Villa v Hull City

W: 1887, 95, 97, 1905, 13, 20, 57 Cup best Semi-final: 1930

Apps: 5 Wins: 5 3rd rnd form (last 5 years) Apps: 0 Wins: 0

ASTON VILLA manager John Gregory is looking to improve on the club's dismal record in the FA Cup but insists that any success will not distract from the main priority of Premiership title glory. Villa look to have a straightforward task on their hands when they entertain the Third Division's basement club Hull City in today's match.

"Last season the club's success in the FA Cup and UEFA Cup kept things going," Gregory said. "Hull might be struggling at present but we will treat them with the utmost respect. We don't want to be one of those sides making the head-lines for the wrong reasons in the Sunday newspapers."

Villa will be without the injured Ian Taylor but fellow midfielder Alan Thompson will return after suspension, while striker Stan Collymore has recovered from an ankle injury.

Hull hope that goalkeeper Steve Wilson will be fit after a bout of flu, while the former Rangers midfielder Brian McGinty has recovered from an Achilles problem.

Blackburn R v Charlton

W: 1884, 85, 86, 90, 91, 1928 Cup best W: 1947

Apps: 5 Wins: 3 3rd rnd form (last 5 years) Apps: 5 Wins: 3

BLACKBURN MANAGER Brian Kidd is sweating on the fitness of five players for today's all-Premiership FA Cup third-round match at home to Charlton. Virus victim Nathan Blake is very doubtful while captain Tim Sherwood, fellow midfielder Billy McKinlay and fullbacks Callum Davidson and Jeff Kenna face late tests. Swiss defender Stephane Henchoz, who missed his first game this season at Leicester on Monday, is hopeful of recovering from an Achilles strain to partner young England star Marlon Broomes at the heart of the defence. Kidd is already without Chris Sutton, Christian Dailly, Tim Flowers, Garry Flitcroft and Sebastien Perez, while Darren Peacock is suspended and new striker Ashley Ward is not eligible.

Charlton will again be without leading scorer Clive Mendonca, who is out of action with a groin injury. Andy Hunt should return after a bout of flu, while Paul Mortimer and Matt Holmes have trained this week. Keith Jones remains doubtful.

Bolton v Wolves

W: 1923, 26, 29, 58 Cup best W: 1893, 1908, 49, 60

Apps: 5 Wins: 3 3rd rnd form (last 5 years) Apps: 5 Wins: 4

BOLTON MANAGER Colin Todd faces a minor injury crisis for the visit of Wolves to the Reebok Stadium in the all-Division One FA Cup tie. Andy Todd is suffering from a hernia while Greg Strong has injured his leg, and both players look likely to be missing from the home side. Todd does have other options, however, and could recall captain Gudni Bergsson after a two month absence or switch Mike Whitlow from left-back.

The flu epidemic sweeping the country has also struck at Wolves, laying low forward Robbie Keane, left-back Lee Naylor and midfielder Darren Ferguson. All three are struggling with the virus and are doubtful to face Bolton. Of the injury doubts, midfielder Simon Osborn has a hamstring problem, striker David Connolly has tendinitis, and utility player Steve Sedgley has an ankle injury. Definitely missing are record goalscorer Steve Bull and central defender Adrian Williams.

Bournemouth v WBA

6th rnd: 1957 Cup best W: 1888, 92, 1931, 54, 68

Apps: 2 Wins: 0 3rd rnd form (last 5 years) Apps: 4 Wins: 1

THE FA Cup pedigrees of these two teams could hardly be more contrasting. While Albion have played in 10 FA Cup finals (they last lifted the trophy in 1968), Bournemouth's best run came 42 years ago, when they lost to Manchester United in the sixth round.

Today Bournemouth will be without their captain, Ian Cox, who is serving a one-match ban. Roger Boli is likely to come into a Cherries side who have won their last six games.

West Bromwich Albion's pounds 5m-rated striker, Lee Hughes, will be fit to lead the line at Dean Court after returning to training following an evening out with friends that went awry when he slipped on ice and suffered a facial injury. Denis Smith, the Albion manager, insists his 26-goal striker is not facing any disciplinary action.

Bradford C v Grimsby

W: 1889, 1938 Cup best Semi-final: 1936, 39

Apps: 3 Wins: 1 3rd rnd form (last 5 years) Apps: 5 Wins: 3

PAUL JEWELL, the home manager, is confident his team can overcome Grimsby at Valley Parade. He looks set to keep faith with the starting line-up which defeated Tranmere on Monday and consolidated The Bantams in fourth place in the First Division. The goalkeeper Mark Prudhoe, and midfielders Paul Bolland and Craig Ramage are all added to the squad but look likely to start on the bench. "It will be a tough game," Jewell said of the tie between promotion rivals, "but if we play well we can win it."

Grimsby's manager Alan Buckley will give late fitness tests to Stacy Coldicott and Tony Gallimore - both are suffering from hamstring injuries - while strikers Lee Nogan and Daryl Clare miss out with flu and Lee Ashcroft is absent with a groin injury.

Bristol C v Everton

Final: 1909 Cup best W: 1906, 33, 66, 84, 95

Apps: 3 Wins: 2 3rd rnd form (last 5 years) Apps: 5 Wins: 3

BRISTOL CITY chairman Scott Davidson is playing down his side's chances of creating an upset against Everton today. "We've done it in the past; we've beaten Liverpool and taken Everton close," he said, "but I don't think we expect to win."

Bristol City will be without Rob Edwards, Brian Tinnion, Colin Cramb, Shaun Taylor, Aaron Brown and loan signing Christian Edwards, and there will be late fitness tests to full-back Jim Brennan and midfielder Tommy Doherty.

Scotland midfielder John Collins could play his last match for Everton for six weeks as he is due to have an operation next week. Marco Materazzi is out with a shoulder injury, while Ibrahima Bakayoko is doubtful. However, Dave Watson is fit after a short lay-off with a knee injury.

Bury v Stockport

W: 1900, 03 Cup best 5th rnd: 1935, 50

Apps: 2 Wins: 0 3rd rnd form (last 5 years) Apps: 4 Wins: 3

THESE TWO clubs have not played each other in the Cup for 106 years. On that occasion they met in a qualifying round and Bury made full use of home advantage by winning 8-1.

Bury will no doubt face a much stiffer task today, particularly as half of their team have been suffering from flu. However, they have welcomed back Dean West, their wing-back, who completed two full games in three days last weekend after being out of first-team action for 16 months with severe groin and pelvic injuries.

While Bury can claim the better Cup record historically, Stockport have established a giant-killing reputation in recent seasons. Today County will have striker Brett Angell back, but midfielder Paul Hughes is ruled out because he is on loan from Chelsea.

Cardiff v Yeovil

W: 1927 Cup best 5th rnd: 1949

Apps: 2 Wins: 2 3rd rnd form (last 5 years) Apps: 0 Wins: 0

THE FORMER Cardiff City striker Carl Dale will lead the Yeovil attack against his old club at Ninian Park today. The Conference club are without key defenders Murray Fishlock and Al-James Hannigan, who are both suspended. Hannigan lost his appeal against the booking he picked up against Telford. Veteran Tony Pounder or midfielder Jamie Pitman will deputise for Fishlock at left back. Dale plays against his old club in the absence of the cup-tied Darren Keeling while last season's top scorer, Owen Pickard, is still injured. Ex-Bristol Rovers midfielder Matt Hayfield is pushing for a recall after recovering from injury.

Cardiff's Jeff Eckhardt is expected to start a match for the first time in two months, while manager Frank Burrows could receive a welcome boost from the midfielder Danny Hill who is also likely to return to the side. Cardiff, leading the Third Division, will want to get back to winning ways after stumbling 1-0 at second-placed Brentford in the League.

Coventry v Macclesfield

W: 1987 Cup best 3rd rnd: 1968, 88

Apps: 5 Wins: 4 3rd rnd form (last 5 years) Apps: 0 Wins: 0

VETERAN GOALKEEPER Steve Ogrizovic, who has played in every one of Coventry's FA Cup embarrassments since they won the trophy in 1987, is back between the posts against Second Division Macclesfield today. Ogrizovic played in the infamous 2-1 defeat by non-League Sutton United 10 years ago and gets the nod over Swede Magnus Hedman. Up front, recent signing John Aloisi waits to see if he gets picked in front of Darren Huckerby, although new striker Stefano Gioacchini, on loan from Serie A side Venezia until the end of the season, is also pressing for a place at Highfield Road.

Macclesfield have been hit by a severe bout of flu with midfielder Martin McDonald and Rae Ingram certainly out while Neil Sorvel has a heavy throat infection and is doubtful. Defender Darren Tinson may be forced to play even though he is still not recovered from a knee ligament problem while winger Stuart Whittaker is hoping to shake off a back problem.

Crewe v Oxford Utd

Semi-final: 1888 Cup best 4th rnd: 1964, 82

Apps: 4 Wins: 1 3rd rnd form (last 5 years) Apps: 4 Wins: 2

CREWE MANAGER Dario Gradi has said that he is not after a dream draw with a big club in the next round, but would rather be handed an easy ride and an extended run in the FA Cup. The First Division's bottom side are set to be without Steve Macauley, David Walton and striker Steve Anthrobus for the visit of their fellow strugglers to Gresty Road.

"We're in with a good chance because Oxford are of a similar standard to us," Gradi said. "If we get through I just want a home tie against the easiest possible team."

Oxford are expected to keep faith with the side that held Portsmouth to a 2-2 draw on Monday, with winger Joey Beauchamp - sent off against Pompey - still available.

The two teams have never met in the FA Cup or League Cup. Oxford have visited Gresty Road five times in the League but have won there only once. Neither club have progressed beyond the FA Cup quarter-finals this century.

Leicester v Birmingham

Final: 1949, 61, 63, 69 Cup best Final: 1931, 56

Apps: 5 Wins: 3 3rd rnd form (last 5 years) Apps: 5 Wins: 2

LEICESTER ARE without Welsh international Robbie Savage for today's tie against Birmingham City. The flamboyant midfielder damaged knee ligaments against Blackburn Rovers on Monday and is facing a lengthy absence. Manager Martin O'Neill also has a worry over Andy Impey, who has a calf injury and is doubtful for the Filbert Street game.

The Birmingham manager, Trevor Francis, a former team mate of O'Neill's in the Nottingham Forest side that won the European Cup, is expected to retain the side that started in Monday's win at Bury.

The midfield player Chris Marsden and left-back Simon Charlton, who have both been out of action since November with knee and groin problems, are still undergoing treatment.

Lincoln City v Sunderland

5th rnd: 1887, 90, 1902 Cup best W: 1937, 73

Apps: 1 Wins: 0 3rd rnd form (last 5 years) Apps: 5 Wins: 3

JOHN REAMES, Lincoln's chairman and manager, believes today's match with Sunderland offers his club some much-needed relief. The struggling Imps can forget about their League problems for the afternoon. Reames, who hopes captain Terry Fleming and goalkeeper John Vaughan recover from illness, said: "We're obviously the underdogs, and whereas recent League games have been intense for us this allows us to relax a little bit."

Sunderland striker Kevin Phillips, having been out of action for three months after damaging his toe in the Worthington Cup match with Chester, may feature among the substitutes for the First Division leaders. Wingers Allan Johnston (knee) and Nicky Summerbee (ankle) are both still out of action.

Newcastle v Crystal Palace

W: 1910, 24, 32, 51, 52, 55 Cup best Final: 1990

Apps: 5 Wins: 4 3rd rnd form (last 5 years) Apps: 5 Wins: 2

CRYSTAL PALACE aim to emulate their achievement of last season, when a 2-1 win at Newcastle was one of their last in the Premiership. Injuries to strikers have stretched the First Division club's resources in recent weeks, but Matt Jansen and Lee Bradbury are available again today. Attilio Lombardo has an outside chance of playing, but defender Sagi Burton is suspended.

Newcastle hope to bounce back from Christmas defeats at home to Leeds and away to Liverpool. However, the Premiership side have doubts over Duncan Ferguson, who suffered a groin injury in the 4-2 reverse at Anfield, Rob Lee and Warren Barton. Didier Domi, the pounds 4m signing from Paris St-Germain, will not be involved because his registration was not processed in time.

Nottingham F v Portsmouth

W: 1898, 1959 Cup best W: 1939

Apps: 5 Wins: 3 3rd rnd form (last 5 years) Apps: 5 Wins: 2

TROUBLED NOTTINGHAM Forest manager Dave Bassett is poised to name an unchanged team for this tie at the City Ground. Bassett, whose side has now gone a record 17 league games without a win, will hope for a change of fortune in the cup but will be without striker Pierre van Hooijdonk, who completes a three-match ban, and injured central defender Jesper Mattsson. But captain Steve Chettle and Chris Bart-Williams, who are nursing back and calf injuries, are expected to declare themselves fit.

The Republic of Ireland international Alan McLoughlin is expected to recover a groin injury and record-breaking goalkeeper Alan Knight is in line for a recall by Portsmouth. Andy Thomson, Thomas Thorgersen and David Hillier are all battling to recover from viruses.

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