FA Cup betting preview: Lawrie Sanchez versus Goliath


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The Independent Football

Few men have slayed as many footballing Goliaths as Lawrie Sanchez down the years and we reckon there's some value to be had in backing his Barnet side to beat Milton Keynes Dons in the FA Cup on Saturday.

The former Wimbledon striker scored one of the most iconic goals in Wembley cup final history with his headed winner against Liverpool in 1988 and he has since made a career out of upsetting the odds in one-off matches having made the progression into management.

It's a remarkable quality that enabled Sanchez to lead Wycombe all the way to the semi-finals of this competition back in 2001, while it was he, let's not forget, who also masterminded Northern Ireland's never-to-be-forgotten victory over England back in September 2005, an embarrassment that also befell Spain and Sweden during his three-year stint as an international boss.

So impressive is the list of prize scalps that Sanchez has taken, in fact, he even managed to convince Mohammed Al Fayed that he had the makings of a Premier League manager.

Alas, his shortcomings on a day to day basis were exposed in his short time at Fulham but Sanchez is settling back into life at a similar level to where he cut his teeth at Adams Park over a decade ago and odds of 18/5  about him landing one of his trademark knockout blows this weekend have some appeal.

There's always two sides to any bet, of course, and the opposition couldn't be much tougher at this stage but we do have our reservations about the ability of the visitors to translate their impressive league form into knockout competition.

The Dons might be the third-highest ranked team involved at this stage but they've failed to reach the third round in four out of the past five seasons - eliminated by basement opposition on three of those occasions.

And it just so happens that the Bees have got their act together in recent weeks after Sanchez performed what he described as a "blood transfusion", bringing in five new faces on loan during November to revamp the team following a dire run of seven defeats in eight league matches.

Michael Hector (Reading), Jack Saville (Southampton) and Paul Downing (West Brom) are among those who have added some quality to the overall package and while the shake-up might only prove to be a temporary fix, the Underhill dressing room is a good place to be right now.

With a willing group enjoying a short-term adventure and most of those temporary signings given clearance to play by their parent clubs, the Bees represent a confident shot to nothing.

Recommended bet:

1pt Barnet to beat MK Dons at 18/5 (Victor Chandler)

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