QPR rewarded with a derby or old boy's return
Monday 08 January 1996
If they can pull it off it will give QPR's player-manager, Ray Wilkins, the chance to put to right the wrongs of last week's unjust home League defeat against the club which will forever be close to his heart. It's more likely he will have to think of ways of containing old boy Les Ferdinand rather better than Chelsea managed in yesterday's closing minutes.
Thankfully, there were not too many all-Premiership ties, two for sure and the possibility of five at most. Two of the minnows were rewarded with real plums and home advantage to boot providing they resist the temptation to switch venues: the Shrewsbury- Fulham replay is enriched by the prospect of a home tie with the bookmakers' favourites Liverpool while Reading will doubtless be screaming themselves hoarse that Manchester United can make amends for Saturday's performance against Sunderland by winning the replay at Roker Park.
Charlton's reward for knocking out Sheffield Wednesday in a third round largely devoid of such upsets is a derby at home to struggling Second Division Brentford, one of only five games not dependent on a replay. At least it gives the Valiants the chance of pulling a bigger club in the fifth round. However, after winning at Norwich, David Webb's team are not without a chance themselves.
One of the more intriguing all-Premiership ties in prospect is Arsenal at home to Aston Villa, a chance for David Platt to renew acquaintances with the Midlands club, although Sheffield United are well placed to spike that one. Wednesday's defeat will give the Blades only greater incentive to go one better than their rivals and win the replay against Bruce Rioch's team at Bramall Lane on Tuesday week.
Nat Lofthouse, the Bolton president, did not do his club much of a favour by drawing Leeds as opposition, but at least the Wanderers have home advantage. After the way the Yorkshire club pulled themselves around from two goals down at Derby yesterday they will be fancying themselves to progress beyond this Roses match.
Ron Atkinson's achievements in cup competition are legendary and while Coventry City are no Manchester United, they have some recent Cup final pedigree and with Big Ron's cup knack they have a good chance of overcoming the winners of the Manchester City-Leicester replay.
Third Division Hereford, who came within a whisker of pulling off what would unquestionably have been the shock of the round against eight-times winners Tottenham, have enough on their plate with the replay against Gerry Francis's team. But the fact that the draw pits the winners against possibly Wolves, if they can win their home replay with Birmingham, will not have escaped the attention of the Bulls manager, Graham Turner, who was sacked by the Molineux club.
Furthermore, home advantage awaits the winners of the White Hart Lane replay. That Hereford bull will not be the only one from Middle England licking his lips in anticipation.
Fulham or Shrewsbury Town v Liverpool
Charlton Athletic v Brentford
Ipswich Town or Blackburn Rovers v Walsall
Bolton Wanderers v Leeds United
Queen's Park Rangers v Chelsea or Newcastle United
Huddersfield Town v Peterborough United
Coventry City v Leicester City or Manchester City
Middlesbrough v Watford or Wimbledon
Reading v Manchester United or Sunderland
Stoke City or Nottingham Forest v Millwall or Oxford United
Southampton v Crewe Alexandra
Swindon Town v Barnsley or Oldham Athletic
Everton or Stockport County v Crystal Palace or Port Vale
West Ham United v Grimsby Town
Arsenal or Sheffield United v Aston Villa
Hereford United or Tottenham v Birmingham or Wolves
(Ties to be played 27, 28 or 29 January)
Presents unwrapped, turkey gobbled... it's time to relax
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