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FA Cup: Five potential third round shocks

It is one of the biggest weekends of the season, when non-league teams and those from the Football League dream of knocking one of the big boys out of the FA Cup.

Here is our guide as to where the shocks could come in the third round over the coming days. 

Tigers look to tame Cottagers

WhatHull City v Fulham
WhereMKM Stadium, Hull
When15.00, Saturday 7th January
How to watchN/A 
OddsHull City 5/1, Draw 16/5, Fulham 8/15

One team who could be in for a tough trip north are Fulham, who head to Hull.

The Tigers have dragged themselves away from the Championship relegation zone by losing just one of their last eight matches and they look to have turned the corner.

They posted a 1-0 victory at Birmingham City and Tyler Smith should be pushing for a start after he scored two goals as a substitute in their latest 4-1 victory at Wigan Athletic.

Admittedly, the Premier League table does look good from the Cottagers' perspective as wins over Crystal Palace and Southampton have them dreaming of European qualification.

But their record in this competition is poor.

The Londoners have won just one of their last nine FA Cup ties inside 90 minutes and they have needed extra-time to beat both QPR and Bristol City in recent seasons.

Fulham are 8/15 to win Saturday's match but this could be a tricky afternoon at 5/1 Hull, with the draw available at 16/5.

Kompany seeks Cherries scalp

WhatBournemouth v Burnley
WhereVitality Stadium, Bournemouth
When15.00, Saturday 7th January
How to watchN/A 
OddsBournemouth 7/5, Draw 12/5, Burnley 19/10

It is difficult to say whether an away victory in this fixture could be classed as a shock, especially as these two teams were playing in opposite divisions this time last year.

However, with Premier League Bournemouth chalked up as 29/20 to win and Burnley 9/5 to see them off in 90 minutes, it is probably the case that it fits the bill.

Burnley have been transformed from the direct team that fell into the Championship last season and it is fair to say they have taken the second tier by storm under Vincent Kompany.

The Clarets look likely to make an immediate return to the top-flight as they are five points clear at the top of the table and, perhaps more importantly, have opened a 14-point gap between themselves and third-placed arch-rivals Blackburn Rovers.

The only game they have not won in their last eight was a 2-0 League Cup defeat at Manchester United and their recent results are in marked contrast to those of their south-coast hosts.

Bournemouth have had a tough time since domestic football returned after the World Cup interval, being dumped out of the League Cup by Newcastle and suffering 2-0 defeats to Chelsea and Crystal Palace.

Last season, the Cherries were picked off by National League Boreham Wood on their own patch in this competition and that might not bode well either for a successful afternoon.

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Forest's fires are burning elsewhere

WhatBlackpool v Nottingham Forest
WhereBloomfield Road, Blackpool
When15.00, Saturday 7th January
How to watchN/A 
OddsBlackpool 7/2, Draw 14/5, Nottingham Forest 3/4

It has taken the best part of a quarter of a century for Nottingham Forest to get back into the Premier League and surely the Tricky Trees will not be prepared to sacrifice their survival bid in preference for a decent run in the FA Cup.

This fixture comes amid some huge matches against Southampton, Leicester, Bournemouth and Leeds, from which a good return of points would go a long way towards ensuring Steve Copper's side stay up.

They may have reached the quarter-finals of the League Cup, but their trip to Blackpool will be pretty low on their priority list.

And even if it wasn't, it might take a brave punter to back a team who have scored just 12 league goals this season at 3/4.

Blackpool have to concern themselves with their own relegation battle and their main problem recently has been getting over the line.

The Seasiders are winless in their last nine matches, but the only defeat they have suffered in their last five matches was against promotion-chasing Sheffield United, so it would not be a huge surprise if they rose to the occasion.

They can be backed at 10/3 while the draw is available at 14/5.

Boro have recent cup pedigree to call on

WhatMiddlesbrough v Brighton
WhereRiverside Stadium, Middlesbrough
When15.00, Saturday 7th January
How to watchN/A 
OddsMiddlesbrough 9/2, Draw 3/1, Brighton 8/13

Brighton continue to punch above their weight in the Premier League but they head to Middlesbrough to take on a team who have been in red-hot form under Michael Carrick.

The only game Boro have not won in their last eight games was against Championship leaders Burnley and they have also scored 17 times during that run, so they know where the goal is.

On top of that, they can use the experience they gained from a great cup run last season when they won at Manchester United on penalties and then beat Tottenham in extra-time on a memorable night at the Riverside.

So this could prove to be a difficult trip for Brighton, who have already suffered a cup shock this season, having been knocked out of the League Cup on penalties by League One Charlton just before Christmas.

Boro are 17/4 to win in 90 minutes, while Brighton are 4/7 to get the job done. The draw is available at 14/5.

Watertight Wednesday look to stifle Magpies

WhatSheffield Wednesday v Newcastle 
WhereHillsborough, Sheffield
When18.00, Saturday 7th January
How to watchbet365 live Sports Streaming Service
OddsSheffield Wednesday 11/2, Draw 10/3, Newcastle 1/2

Newcastle have not won the FA Cup since 1955 and will fancy their chances of finally getting their hands on the trophy after making huge strides in the last year.

However, they could have been handed an easier third-round tie.

The Magpies have been in excellent form under Eddie Howe but it is just 12 months since they were beaten 1-0 at home by Cambridge in this competition and they could face another tough game against a League One side at Sheffield Wednesday.

The Owls lost on penalties to Southampton in the League Cup but they have not lost a game inside 90 minutes since a 2-1 league reverse at Plymouth on 4th October.

Wednesday have kept clean sheets in their last four home league games, so they could be tough to break down.

The home side are 6/1 to pull off a surprise, while Newcastle are 2/5 and the draw is available at 16/5.

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