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FA Cup: Five potential first round upsets

The magic of the FA Cup returns this weekend, with several non-league teams mixing it with League One and League Two clubs.

There are no fewer than 40 games across the weekend, from Friday to Monday, and we've taken a look at five potential upsets.

WhatSouth Shields v Forest Green Rovers – FA Cup First Round
WhereFirst Cloud Arena, Jarrow
When12:00, Saturday, 5th November
How to watchBBC One and BBC iPlayer
OddsSouth Shields 15/4, Draw 5/2, Forest Green 8/11

South Shields v Forest Green Rovers

Former Sunderland and Leicester star Kevin Phillips is the manager of Northern Premier League side South Shields and the 1999-2000 Premier League top goalscorer will be eyeing a League One scalp.

The North East outfit will welcome Forest Green Rovers on Saturday lunchtime, with the TV cameras in place for a potential upset.

Forest Green were themselves a non-league outfit until winning promotion to the EFL in 2016-17 and the Gloucestershire club are now a League One club.

Ian Burchnall's men find themselves second from bottom in the third tier and having won just three of their opening 17 league matches – leaving them four points from safety at present.

Forest Green have won just one of their nine League One away games and that came on the opening day of the season, with four draws and four defeats on the road since then.

In contrast, the hosts are unbeaten in their 10 home games in all competitions and they knocked out National League side Scunthorpe in the last qualifying round.

AFC Fylde v Gillingham

Another non-league team in with a good chance of claiming victory over an EFL side are AFC Fylde, who will entertain struggling Gillingham on Saturday (15:00).

The hosts are currently in the National League North but were a National League side in 2019-20 and they do also have a recent FA Cup pedigree.

Fylde reached the third round of the competition in the 2019-20 campaign, before eventually falling 2-1 at then Premier League side Sheffield United.

Gillingham make the five-hour trip to the North West having failed to win any of their last five league games, which leaves them fifth-from-bottom in League Two.

Neil Harris' men are also the lowest scorers in the EFL, having bagged just six times in 16 games and a trip to competent non-league outfit looks a tricky task.

Fylde can be backed at 12/5 to collect a cup shock, while Gillingham are 21/20 and the draw is available at 5/2.

Shrewsbury Town v York City

If you go back to the late 1990s, these two teams would have been in the same division, battling it out in League One.

They have gone in opposite directions though in the last two decades, with the Shrews flipping between League One and Two whilst York have been as low as the National League North.

The Minstermen though appear to be on their way back, having secured a place in the National League last season and making steady progress this term.

Managed now by former Shrewsbury boss John Askey, York are sat 11th in the fifth tier and could make life tough for their League One opponents, who have not won any of their last four games and have scored just two goals during that run.

Shrewsbury are 8/15 to progress through to second round in 90 minutes, while York can be backed at 19/4 and the draw is available at 16/5.

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Curzon Ashton v Cambridge United

One of four first round ties on Sunday (14:00) takes place at the Tameside Stadium, when National League North Curzon Ashton face League One Cambridge United.

The visitors reached round four last season, but had not progressed past the first round of the competition in the previous three seasons.

A potential banana-skin at a non-league opponent is not ideal for a team who are hovering above the relegation places, with the U's having lost three of their last four League One away games.

Curzon do have several players with EFL experience, including forward George Waring – who has played for the likes of Barnsley, Carlisle and Shrewsbury.

The hosts are 9/2 to cause an upset, with Cambridge available at 4/7 and the draw can be backed at 3/1.

Solihull Moors v Hartlepool United

These two teams might be in different divisions, but there is not much between them on current form with Solihull fourth in the National League and Hartlepool now 23rd in League Two.

The visitors have won just two of their opening 17 league games and both of those victories came on home soil, as they prepare now for a tricky trip to the Midlands.

Moors in comparison, have lost just three of their first 17 matches and go into this tie unbeaten in five in all competitions.

The non-league side are looking to reach the second round for the fourth time in five seasons and in boss Neal Ardley, they have a manager with EFL experience.

Solihull are 10/11 to claim a victory on Saturday, with Hartlepool as big as 3/1 and the draw can be backed at 12/5.

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