The FA Cup returns this weekend and this time the big guns are in the draw. There’s plenty of backable favourites and plenty of potential shocks on the cards and I’ve been having a look over them to see if we can find a few teams who can score a few goals for us. Here’s an FA Cup special edition of my Team Goals Treble:
Hartlepool vs Derby County
There’s having a rest and then there’s having a winter break and Hartlepool fans must feel as though it’s been an age since they saw their side play. Hartlepool’s last game was on the 19th of December in a 1-2 home loss to Plymouth Argyle, leaving them just 3 points clear of the relegation zone in League Two.
Whilst I’m sure Ronnie Moore has been keeping his side training, I do have my doubts about the match fitness of Hartelpool here with such a long break. The League Two outfit have struggled at the best of times this season, let alone when they welcome a high flying Championship outfit like Derby County.
The Rams have played 3 games since Hartlepool last stepped on the pitch for a competitive fixture, and though a disappointing 2-0 loss to Middlesbrough in their last outing leaves them 4 points behind the league leaders, this gives them a chance to put that behind them and seek a place in the 4th round draw of the FA Cup.
Hartlepool have conceded in 10 of their 15 home games this season and none of those were against sides with the quality that Derby have. Derby on the other hand have scored in 10 of their 15 away games this season and all of those games were against higher class opposition.
Over the past 10 years the hosts have reached round 4 on only one occasion, I I’d expect that stat to remain intact with Derby running out convincing winners at Victoria Park this weekend.
BET: Derby County to Score 2+ Goals at 8/13 with SkyBet
Eastleigh vs Bolton
I’m going to take what I feel is an absolute banker here at a price I’m not really a fan of, but it should work well for us in this little treble. In all honesty, I’ve considered taking a bit more of a risky punt on Eastleigh bagging 2 goals, but instead I’m settling on them scoring one.
The Spitfires have already knocked out League One opposition in Crewe Alexandra away from home in this cup run and though it’s a step up to face Bolton, this time they have home advantage and yet again they go up against a league side who are struggling for form.
The visitors sick rock bottom of the Championship, 4 points adrift of safety and though they are 3 tiers above their opponents this weekend, they won’t be relishing a trip to a cold and muddy Silverlake Stadium to face high flying Eastleigh.
The hosts have lost just 1 of their last 15 games in all competitions and now sit 4th in the National League, a great achievement when you consider that this is only their 2nd season at this level having been promoted in the 2013-14 season.
This will be their 31st game of the season and we’re only just hitting January, but Chris Todd has some real decent goalscorers on his hands such as James Constable, Ben Strevens and Andrew Drury to name but a few, and they are partly the reason that Eastleigh have scored in 27 of those 31 games.
Bolton have played 12 away games this season, conceding in 10 of those and conceding 2 or more goals in 5 of their last 7. They’ve already been knocked out of the League Cup by Burton Albion this season in a 0-1 home loss and I really don’t see their 4 hour drive down the M6 ending well this weekend.
BET: Eastleigh to Score 1+ Goals at 4/11 with SkyBet
Peterborough vs Preston
This one is probably the riskiest of the bunch, but in all honesty I fancy it the most. Posh are in fine goalscoring form this season and it’s form that I feel is likely to see them back in The Championship come may, providing they can tighten up defensively.
Peterborough have scored an incredible 52 goals in 25 games this season, more than any other side in the top 4 tiers of English football and it’s hard to back against them finding the net again this weekend given their impressive 2-3 win at Sheffield United last week.
They’ve played 15 games here at home this season in all competitions and have scored in every single one of those games, including scoring 2 in or more in 4 of their last 5 games. They’ve also scored 2 or more goals in both of their FA Cup ties which has led them to the 3rd round.
They face possibly the most difficult challenge of their cup run so far in Preston this weekend but it’s a challenge I feel they can rise to. Preston do come into this game after back-to-back wins against Hull and Rotherham but away from home this season their form has left a lot to be desired with only 3 wins from 12.
Peterborough may be a tier below their opponents on Saturday, but with their goalscoring power and the likes of Conor Washington in fine form, I think they have the firepower to cause an upset this weekend at London Road.
BET: Peterborough to Score 2+ Goals at 6/4 with SkyBet
A £20 bet on the treble returns £110 with SkyBet