The fourth round of the FA Cup is upon us this weekend and with plenty of lower-league teams still in the hat there is interest across all the divisions, from Premier League leaders Manchester United to non-league Macclesfield Town, who host Wigan Athletic after their heroics in the last round.
And with lots of large quotes about, I have been looking at all of the weekend’s ties and have picked out some big-priced winners and a potential cup shock.
I was going to include Millwall and Aston Villa in my list of potential upsets, but after careful consideration, I don’t actually think there is much chance of a shock and Millwall should just get the job done.
But I have included the following….
MK Dons to beat Queens Park Rangers @ 19/4
Despite a decent run of form over the last couple of weeks, I still see Queens Park Rangers as ripe for a cup upset and I think MK Dons could provide it at Loftus Road on Saturday.
The tie is a repeat of the third round last year, when after a 1-1 draw at stadium:mk Rangers won the replay late on 1-0.
There wasn’t much between the sides on that occasion, with QPR playing a weakened team and Dons boss Karl Robinson targeting the match as a chance for his club to claim a top-flight scalp, and I see the same scenario this time.
Harry Redknapp would happily lose this match in a trade for Premier League survival and I think that gives the Dons, who have lost just one of their last seven away trips and have beaten higher division sides in Norwich, Blackburn, Sheffield Wednesday and Blackpool under Robinson, a chance of an upset at 19/4.
Barnsley to beat Hull @ 17/4
Despite his pedigree in the tournament as a player, I don’t think Hull boss Steve Bruce cares about the FA Cup at all at the moment and it means Yorkshire rivals Barnsley can spring a mini-surprise by winning at the KC Stadium at 17/4.
Both clubs are in the Championship, but the odds on offer show how their respective seasons are going: while the Tigers are riding high in the promotion mix, the Tykes are in the drop zone, seven points from safety.
But the teams are in contrasting form and it is Barnsley who are picking up results. Under new manager David Flitcroft, Barnsley are yet to lose, beating Burnley and Leeds while picking up a point at Ipswich last weekend.
By contrast, Hull have won just one of the last five, an extra-time replay win over Leyton Orient in the last round.
Bruce made a host of changes for both those games as he prioritises promotion and with the ex-Sunderland boss likely to do so again, Flitcroft can keep his fine start going.
Huddersfield Town to beat Leicester City @ 17/5
Okay, I know that Huddersfield dispensed with the services of manager Simon Grayson in the week after a run of 12 league games without a win, but I still think there is value in the 17/5 they beat distracted Leicester City at the John Smith’s Stadium on Saturday.
Grayson paid the price for a poor run, but the players at Huddersfield are far better than that winless streak suggests and I expect an upturn in results, even if at the moment they are under the caretaker stewardship of Mark Lillis and Steve Eyre.
And I am not convinced how bothered Leicester are about the cup when they are currently second in the Championship and gunning for promotion.
Boss Nigel Pearson will make changes and at 7/10, they would be no price anyway given their away record: the Foxes have won just five of their 14 away trips in the league, losing six, and with motivation lacking they could come a cropper in West Yorkshire.
Huddersfield, who it must be stressed are better than their current form says, owe their fans a performance and I think at 17/5, they are a decent price to give them one.