League Two’s Shrewsbury are bidding to pull off one of the most earth-shattering cup upsets of all time when they entertain Chelsea at New Meadow.
Understandably, the Shrews are completely friendless in the betting, attributed odds of 17/2 for success against the Premier League pacesetters.
The Blues can be backed at a miniscule 1/4, while the draw in 90 minutes pays at 21/4.
Enormously contrasted levels of quality and finance are the key contributors to the 70-place deficit between the pair in the English football ladder, not to mention the discrepancy in reputations of their managers.
Jose Mourinho is known as one of the finest coaches practising today, while Shrews supremo Micky Mellon is hardly known at all.
Naturally, when the pair pit their wits against one another, there’s only one man capable of coming out on top…or is there?
The Special One may have seven league titles to his name, not to mention four domestic cups, two Champions Leagues, a Europa League and seven separate manager of the year awards, but has he ever had the nous to open his own gym aimed at the untapped demographic of Lancastrian teenagers?
No, he hasn’t.
Nor has he masterminded one club’s ascent from the doldrums of the English game into the meat and gravy of the Football League.
The Mellon man has accomplished both achievements in his commendable career in the lower echelons, guiding Fleetwood from non-league obscurity into the third tier, starting with a Conference North play-off win in 2009/10.
He completed the operation by wrapping his claws around the Conference Premier title two years later, as the Trawlermen ran riot at the final non-league hurdle, accumulating 103 points to top the table.
A third promotion may well have followed, but the Town hierarchy disgracefully decided to dispense with Mellon’s services a few months later, despite the club residing in fourth in League Two.
Mourinho will tell you every great manager needs a mentor – he learned from the best in Bobby Robson and Louis van Gaal, after all – and a spell under the tutelage of lower-league aficionado David Flitcroft at Barnsley looks to have enhanced Mellon’s abilities further.
His Shrewsbury side are perched in fourth in League Two and have developed a craving for the scalps of bigger clubs in the Capital One Cup.
They’ve seen off Blackpool, Leicester and Norwich so far this term, taking Mellon’s cup upset count to five across his career, a capacity in which Mourinho is yet to break his duck.