GW 28 – Ones to Watch
Matt: It’s FA Cup Fourth Round weekend and, as you’d expect, we have every tie available across Saturday and Sunday. With a very appetising fixture list in that competition complimented nicely by a healthy programme of league fixtures elsewhere, there’s no reason for us to see a buck to the recent trend of big scores and visitors to Club 100. Beware the cup shock(s) though, it’s a rare happening for something major not to occur on these FA Cup gameweeks! Let’s take a closer look at two teams you might wish to consider in GW 28…..
- Bournemouth v Boreham Wood. It would be far too easy to simply tip a pair of Premier League sides playing lower league opposition in the FA Cup, so in a bid to try not to be quite so obvious, I’m first of all settling on this tie that pitches Championship v National League, with both clubs going well in their respective divisions. Bournemouth currently occupy third spot in their league table, as they bid for an immediate return to the Premier League, whilst Boreham sit in fifth place in the NL, aiming to become a full league member for the first time in their history. The Cherries have already eliminated NL opposition in this competition this season, winning 3-1 at Yeovil Town in the Third Round, and manager Scott Parker will be keen to see a repeat of that performance and result at the Vitality Stadium on Sunday evening. One or two ‘fringe’ players may well come into the reckoning for them in this fixture, but if that is the case they’ll need to on their A game if they wish to play more often as the south coast club were incredibly active on transfer deadline day! The Cherries’ home form has been slightly iffy of late, but they’re not averse to dishing out a thrashing on their own manor, as MK Dons (5-0), Swansea City (4-0) and Cardiff City (3-0) will all testify to! You may recall I actually tipped Boreham in this section in GW 27, how quickly the tables can be turned! They did the business for us last weekend with a 3-1 victory, but it’s goals against I’m more interested in this time around and although I’m certain The Wood will put up some strong resistance, I can’t see anything other than a few goals for the Championship high-fliers.
- Stockport County v Dover Athletic. This selection is a borderline ‘no brainer’ given everything that’s going on in the National League currently! And as tempting as it is to pick whichever team is playing Dover on any given week, this tip is far more to do with the staggering form of the home side than anything else! The Hatters have won NINE consecutive games (seven NL, two FA Trophy) in an unstoppable surge from mid-table top to the very summit of the table. Indeed, you could argue that their 5-2 victory in the reverse fixture back in late October was the catalyst for County’s incredible turnaround in their fortunes…..that win was the beginning of a run that saw 11 wins and a draw in just 13 league matches, scoring 41 goals in the process, and a monumental rise up the standings. In 2022, Stockport are averaging over 3 goals per game last weekend’s 5-0 hammering of Barnet could be a sign of things coming Dover’s way! It doesn’t help the visitors that their form is in complete contrast to their hosts’ and I’ve referenced their woes in this section previously, although The Whites deserve a lot of praise for finally winning their first league game of the season a fortnight ago – Eastleigh the team who have the unwanted tag of becoming their first victims! However, I can’t overlook the fact that before that result, Dover had lost every competitive match since the last weekend of November and quite simply this has all the makings of a goalfest; it’s top v bottom, it’s the top scorers v most goals conceded and it’s title chasers v certain relegation…..surely there’s only one outcome and goals are a formality?!! Good luck to you all.