The FA Cup third round kicks off this Friday as the Premier League teams enter the competition for the first time this season. Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham side overcame League Two opposition last year in the form of Newport County and will be tasked with doing that again this season against Tranmere Rovers, who were knocked out in the first round last year. Also facing non-league opposition are Watford, who will travel to Woking of the National League South.
FA Cup Third Round Preview
Woking v Watford
Javi Gracia’s side make the trip around the M25 to National League South side Woking for the first ever competitive meeting between the two clubs.
The Cards have already played five games to get to this point, having joined at the second qualifying round, but their biggest victory so far will have been the giant-killing in the last round when they beat Swindon Town on away turf. Jake Hyde’s goal ten minutes into the second half was enough for them to hold on and knock out their League Two opposition.
Watford, meanwhile, will be hoping they can avoid what would be a remarkable upset if they were to lose here. Gracia may give a rest to some of his key players having had a Premier League fixture against Bournemouth in the week, but will also want to avoid any embarrassment, so a fairly strong Hornets team should be expected.
Tranmere v Tottenham
Micky Mellon’s Tranmere side host Tottenham in the first game of the third round, the late kick-off on Friday night. Spurs faced opposition from either League One or League Two twice in last season’s competition and needed replays to beat both. With important Champions League knockout games on the horizon, they will want to ease the potential fixture congestion created by FA Cup replays by seeing games like this off.
Tranmere, meanwhile, have already got two round further than they went last season as a non-league team, having been knocked out in a first-round replay by Peterborough United. They won’t be threatened by the obvious gulf in quality having made an excellent return to the Football League this season.
While on paper it looks fairly obvious who will win this one, this is a big banana skin game for Spurs, especially if they take the risk of resting key players such as Harry Kane and Dele Alli.
Newport County v Leicester City
For the second time in two seasons, Newport County will welcome Premier League opposition to Rodney Parade as Leicester City make the trip to South Wales.
The Exiles enjoyed a marvellous cup campaign last season, beating Leeds United late on and taking Spurs to a replay, but with Leicester looking confined to another mid-table finish in the Premier League, the Foxes could go out in force in this game and look to launch a cup run.
Newport will look to end that run and get to at least the same point of the competition they made it to last season but Claude Puel’s side could be one step too far for them this year.
Full Fixture List
Tranmere Rovers v Tottenham Hotspur (19:45)
Burnley v Barnsley (12:30)
Manchester United v Reading (12:30)
Sheffield Wednesday v Luton Town (12:30)
Shrewsbury Town v Stoke City (12:30)
West Bromwich Albion v Wigan Athletic (12:30)
West Ham United v Birmingham City (12:30)
Accrington Stanley v Ipswich Town (15:00)
Aston Villa v Swansea City (15:00)
Bolton Wanderers v Walsall (15:00)
Brentford v Oxford United (15:00)
Chelsea v Nottingham Forest (15:00)
Derby County v Southampton (15:00)
Everton v Lincoln City (15:00)
Fleetwood Town v AFC Wimbledon (15:00)
Gillingham v Cardiff City (15:00)
Middlesbrough v Peterborough United (15:00)
Blackpool v Arsenal (17:30)
Bristol City v Huddersfield Town (17:30)
Crystal Palace v Grimsby Town (17:30)
Newcastle United v Blackburn Rovers (17:30)
Norwich City v Portsmouth (17:30)
Fulham v Oldham Athletic (14:00)
Manchester City v Rotherham United (14:00)
Millwall v Hull City (14:00)
Preston North End v Doncaster Rovers (14:00)
Queens Park Rangers v Leeds United (14:00)
Sheffield United v Barnet (14:00)
Woking v Watford (14:00)
Newport County v Leicester City (16:30)