BT Sport may have just secured rights to Champions League broadcasts from 2015, but tonight their lenses will be trained upon the Meadowbank Ground in Gloucestershire, where Shortwood – the lowest ranked team left in the FA Cup betting – are fancied to keep up their end of a 4/5 both teams to score wager when they take on League One Port Vale.
Micky Adams’ full-time pros are a slender 1/4 to gain their passport to the second round, with the Calor League Division One South & West side 8/1 against their giant-killing prone visitors and the draw 4/1.
The Valiants have shipped goals in all bar three of their outings in all competitions in 2013/14.
Newly promoted League One outfit Vale have adapted well to life in the third tier, but their defence has yet to really to develop a taste for clean-sheets at such a rarefied level.
Adams is expected to ring the changes in his squad after a particularly chastening weekend trip to the County Ground in which the Burslem boys were smashed for five by Swindon Town.
Meanwhile gnarled veteran goal-hunter Lee Hughes is expected to join Tom Pope up front after springing from the bench to join last season’s League Two top scorer on the pitch and the scoresheet last time out.
Just three of Shortwood’s 14 games so far this term have witnessed a clean sheet.
With the visitors breaching the home lines in their last seven away games, the non-league Lilliputians can’t count upon the mercy of away toothlessness to aid their second round mission.
However Alex Sykes’ charges have been denied a goal just one all season themselves despite labouring down in 19th place in the bread and butter of their divisional standings.
Vale have twice been dumped out of the FA Cup by lesser lights in recent memory.
The Staffordshire side’s historical weakness for the fabled romance of the world’s oldest cup competition will undoubtedly offer extra motivation to their first round foes.
After upping their games to dispose of Aldershot of the Skrill Premier League in an away replay at the previous hurdle (in which they scored twice) Shortwood will hope to etch their names alongside Chasetown FC and Canvey Island in FA Cup folklore with victory.