Yeovil's chance to add Liverpool to romantic conquests

FA Cup's ultimate giant-killers take on six-times winners at home as third-round draw sees Arsenal start defence of trophy at Leeds
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The Independent Football

The most famous giant-killers in the history of the FA Cup, Yeovil Town, are optimistic of recording a 21st victory over League opposition after being paired with the six-times winners, Liverpool, in yesterday's third-round draw.

This is the 14th time the Football League newcomers, who moved up from the Conference in the summer, have reached the third round of the competition. Yeovil brushed aside Barnet 5-1 at Huish Park in the second round on Saturday.

Yeovil's most famous FA Cup win was a 2-1 fourth-round victory over Sunderland in 1949, but beating Liverpool would surpass that. However, despite Yeovil's incredible FA Cup record, history does not favour them. The sides have met only once before, in an FA Cup tie in the 1934-35 season, when Yeovil were in the Southern League. Liverpool won that game 6-2.

Yeovil's manager, Gary Johnson, said: "It's fantastic for our fans - another history-making game for us. Our capacity is 9,000 but I think we'll be having the builders in, scaffolding put up and seats around the outside to try and get as many people in as possible."

The Yeovil defender Adam Lockwood believes team spirit could help the Glovers against the club that was once the most feared in Europe He rates his side's chances against Liverpool as 50-50 and sees no reason why the Somerset side should be overawed by the club who last won the trophy in 2001, when they beat Arsenal 2-1.

Lockwood, a product of the Leeds academy, said: "We wanted a big club in the next round and that's what we've got. It's good to be part of a game like that. It's good to be testing yourself against the best."

Whatever the Liverpool line-up, the Premiership side are likely to be packed with household names, but Lockwood is undaunted.

"You could go all through the Liverpool team and name players like Kewell and Gerrard and Owen," he said, "but we've got a great squad and we've a great team spirit. We work together. If we play well and if we catch them on an off day, anyone could be a hero."

The FA Cup holders, Arsenal, will start the defence of the trophy with a potentially difficult visit to Leeds United. The Gunners, attempting to become the first club since Blackburn Rovers 118 years ago to win the trophy three seasons in a row and the first to reach four successive finals, will start as favourites after their 4-1 win at Elland Road in the Premiership on 1 November.

That tie is one of five all-Premiership pairings. Manchester United, FA Cup winners a record 10 times - one more than Arsenal - must travel to Aston Villa in a repeat of their third-round meeting two seasons ago which United won 3-2. United will travel with confidence after thrashing Villa 4-0 at Old Trafford on Saturday.

Manchester City play Leicester City in a repeat of the 1969 final which City won 1-0, while last season's runners-up, Southampton, meet Newcastle United and Birmingham City face Blackburn. Rovers won 4-0 at St Andrew's on Saturday and will be eager for a quick return to the Midlands in the teams' first FA Cup meeting for 69 years.

The Premiership leaders, Chelsea, travel to First Division Watford, who lost to Arsenal in the semi-finals last season, while the eight-times winners Tottenham Hotspur face a home derby against First Division Crystal Palace.

Wolverhampton Wanderers are away to Third Division neighbours Kidderminster Harriers, while Sunderland face a North-east derby against Second Division Hartlepool United, who are in the third round for the first time in 11 years.

It may not quite have the romance of Yeovil against Liverpool, but it is another intriguing game in a fascinating third round.

FA CUP THIRD-ROUND DRAW

Wimbledon v Stoke City

Cardiff City v Sheffield United

Wycombe W or Mansfield Town v Burnley

Crewe Alexandra v Telford United

Bristol City or Barnsley v Scunthorpe United or Sheffield Wednesday

Portsmouth v Blackpool

Northampton Town v Rotherham United

Fulham v Cheltenham Town

Manchester City v Leicester City

Southampton v Newcastle United

Yeovil Town v Liverpool

Birmingham City v Blackburn Rovers

Nottingham Forest v West Bromwich Albion

Watford v Chelsea

Kidderminster Harriers v Wolverhampton W

Gillingham v Charlton Athletic

Swansea City v Macclesfield Town or Cambridge United

Leeds United v Arsenal

Tottenham Hotspur v Crystal Palace

Aston Villa v Manchester United

Southend U v Port Vale or Scarborough

Sunderland v Hartlepool United

Tranmere Rovers v Bolton Wanderers

Preston North End v Reading

Wigan Athletic v West Ham United

Middlesbrough v Notts County

Ipswich Town v Derby County

Coventry City v Peterborough United

Everton v Norwich City

AFC Bournemouth or Accrington Stanley v Colchester United

Bradford City v Luton Town

Millwall v Walsall

Ties to be played 3 and 4 January

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