FA Cup preview: Cumbrians to embrace cup fever

 

Every year, the same cliches get churned out about the FA Cup and the competition is built up to be something it used to be - but isn't anymore. Sure, these matches can still trigger joy and generate excitement, but only after the event.

So let's not kid ourselves that every team will be drooling at the prospect what awaits them this weekend. Some clubs have bigger concerns. They will turn up with the best intentions and give it a go, like good professionals, but there's no getting away from the fact that, in some cases, defeat will brushed off and forgotten about by six o'clock, as though it never happened.

Now let's try and pinpoint where the purpose is greater, by forgetting league form – perhaps even using good form as a stick to beat teams with – and see if we can identify the hottest opportunities. 

All of which in mind, we just have to be with Carlisle at 11/5 for the visit of Bournemouth. The Cumbrians are going through a difficult period as they languish in the lower reaches of League One but this competition offers a chance of salvation. A top-six finish already looks beyond them, but a money-spinning third round tie might just be enough to keep long-serving manager Greg Abbott in a job.

It's questionable how much players really care about club finances but Carlisle could certainly do with the money, whereas Bournemouth have more money than sense - well, that was until Eddie Howe returned to Dean Court. 

The 34-year-old has restored an instant sense of direction since ending his 21-month sabbatical with Burnley, leading the Cherries to a ten-match unbeaten run that leaves them within five points of the play-offs. It's a run that includes a convincing 4-0 win over League Two Dagenham & Redbridge in the last round, but that mission was no real hardship and arrived at a delicate point in the confidence-building process. 

The prospect of a 700-mile round trip obviously raised the issue of relevance when the draw was made but Bournemouth are flying most of the way - making good use of Maxim Demin's money on Flybe's Southampton to Newcastle route - and counterintuitive though this may sound, we reckon that dose of luxury might just temper the motivation of making an arduous journey worthwhile.

Carlisle have been disappointing this season but they haven't become a bad team overnight and they can right the wrongs of a 4-2 defeat to the Dorset outfit a month ago by outdoing them in terms of desire this time around. A morale-boosting 3-1 win at Yeovil last weekend was a handy way to prepare.

Meanwhile, Notts County occupy the position that Bournemouth are currently chasing and they look vulnerable for the much shorter trip to Rotherham. Take some of the 13/8 available on Steve Evans claiming his eighth higher-division scalp in three seasons.

The Millers did us proud by putting Stevenage to the sword in Round 1 and the challenge that now faces them at New York Stadium is no harder; the Magpies have an identical league record to Gary Smith's men with nine wins, seven draws and four defeats from the first 20 matches.

Keith Curle's men have thwarted us on a couple of occasions in recent weeks, picking up four points from matches against Scunthorpe and Swindon. Throw in the goalless draw at Preston that was sandwiched in between and you have three successive matches in which the Magpies have been second-best only to ride their luck and end up with more than they bargained for.

Finally, we'll complete a trio of chunky-priced home wins with a bet on Oldham to beat Doncaster, also at 13/8. 

These two teams played each other in a rearranged League One fixture at the Keepmoat on Tuesday with the Yorkshire club edging home by the only goal and it was a game that finished amid some controversy with a red card for either side in stoppage time. 

It remains to be seen whether any lingering contempt will spill over, making for a tetchy affair at Boundary Park four days on, but we suspect the Latics will be better equipped to cope with the loss of goalkeeper Dean Bouzanis, having recalled Alex Cisak from his loan spell at Portsmouth, than Rovers who must make do without striker Iain Hume.

That slender victory lifted Dean Saunders' men up to second in the League One table but it comes at the expense of giving away their best secrets and 16th-placed Oldham might have all the incentive to find an extra gear here. When you're dreaming of a promotion party in the blazing sun next May, the last thing you need is sub-zero tempartures at a notoriously inhospitable venue better known as Ice Station Zebra.

Betting advice...

1.5pts Carlisle to beat Bournemouth at 11/5 (Boylesports)

Cumbrians can make light of a difficult season with a big show against recent opponents.

2pts Oldham to beat Doncaster at 13/8 (Coral)

Latics can keep their season alive by gaining swift revenge for their defeat in midweek.

2pts Rotherham to beat Notts County at 13/8 (Coral)

Millers look a good bet to maintain Steve Evans' incredible FA Cup record of recent years.

For more betting advice, visit Best of the Bets by clicking here.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen
RuPaul interview: The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head

RuPaul interview

The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head
Secrets of comedy couples: What's it like when both you and your partner are stand-ups?

Secrets of comedy couples

What's it like when both you and your partner are stand-ups?
Satya Nadella: As Windows 10 is launched can he return Microsoft to its former glory?

Satya Nadella: The man to clean up for Windows?

While Microsoft's founders spend their billions, the once-invincible tech company's new boss is trying to save it
The best swimwear for men: From trunks to shorts, make a splash this summer

The best swimwear for men

From trunks to shorts, make a splash this summer
Mark Hix recipes: Our chef tries his hand at a spot of summer foraging

Mark Hix goes summer foraging

 A dinner party doesn't have to mean a trip to the supermarket
Ashes 2015: With an audacious flourish, home hero Ian Bell ends all debate

With an audacious flourish, the home hero ends all debate

Ian Bell advances to Trent Bridge next week almost as undroppable as Alastair Cook and Joe Root, a cornerstone of England's new thinking, says Kevin Garside
Aaron Ramsey interview: Wales midfielder determined to be centre of attention for Arsenal this season

Aaron Ramsey interview

Wales midfielder determined to be centre of attention for Arsenal this season
Community Shield: Arsene Wenger needs to strike first blow in rivalry with Jose Mourinho

Community Shield gives Wenger chance to strike first blow in rivalry with Mourinho

As long as the Arsenal manager's run of games without a win over his Chelsea counterpart continues it will continue to dominate the narrative around the two men
The unlikely rise of AFC Bournemouth - and what it says about English life

Unlikely rise of AFC Bournemouth

Bournemouth’s elevation to football’s top tier is one of the most improbable of recent times. But it’s illustrative of deeper and wider changes in English life
A Very British Coup, part two: New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel

A Very British Coup, part two

New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel
Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Icy dust layer holds organic compounds similar to those found in living organisms