I’M sticking two words up at the FA Cup this weekend – but they’re not what you think.
You might think we’ll win f*** all on these ties but it won’t be for a lack of trying and checking TEAM NEWS is vital. My tips on the Friday ties were spot on and came after doing my homework and I’ve gathered some vital info you should study befoee picking any FA Cup winners on Saturday.
One point to not is the number of loan players clubs have lost at the start of the window. Here is the latest team news and I’ll do something similar with Sunday’s matches.
Barnsley v Middlesbrough
George Williams could make his first start for Barnsley with Joe Dudgeon and James Bree both struggling for fitness, while striker Sam Winnall is continuing his rehabilitation following a hamstring problem. Goalkeeper Ross Turnbull is back in contention following suspension and boss Danny Wilson must decide whether to recall him or retain Adam Davies.
Striker Patrick Bamford will be included in the Boro squad after extending his loan spell to the end of the season. Boss Aitor Karanka also has no fresh injury concerns although Emilio Nsue is due to meet up with Equatorial Guinea ahead of the African Nations Cup. Ryan Fredericks (thigh), Muzzy Carayol (knee) and Damia Abella (knee) remain out.
Blyth v Birmingham
Alex Nicholson is expected to be fit for Spartans despite being withdrawn with a dead leg during the 1-0 defeat at Whitby which ended their seven-game winning streak. Stephen Turnbull, who scored in the win over Hartlepool in round two, is set to be restored to the starting line-up after coming off the bench in their last outing.
Nikola Zigic could make his first start for Blues since rejoining the club. Manager Gary Rowett admitted he may look to rest players following a punishing festive schedule. Will Packwood (groin), Gavin Gunning (knee) and Matt Green (knee) remain on the injury list.
Bolton v Wigan
Lee Chung-yong will miss out for Bolton after linking up with the South Korea squad ahead of the Asia Cup, while Matt Mills is a doubt after picking up a knock in the loss to Huddersfield. Craig Davies and Kevin McNaughton (both hamstring) are back in the squad but Joe Mason (hamstring), Mark Davies (knee), Marc Tierney (ankle) and Max Clayton (knee) are all long-term absentees.
Wigan will be without Callum McManaman, who begins a three-game suspension, and Grant Holt after the 33-year-old damaged cruciate ligaments during the final game of his loan spell at Huddersfield on Boxing Day. The departure of midfielder Roger Espinoza, who is heading back to the United States, was also confirmed this week, while Leon Barnett (hamstring) and Martyn Waghorn (shoulder) are still out.
Brentford v Brighton
Brentford new boy Lewis Macleod is ineligible after moving to the Bees from Rangers and will have to watch from the sidelines. Winger Sam Saunders could be in line for a first start of the season after recovering from a long-term knee injury. Right-back Alan McCormack (ankle) and striker Scott Hogan (knee) remain in the treatment room.
New Brighton manager Chris Hughton has a much-changed squad for his first game in charge, with loanees Darren Bent, Greg Halford, Gary Gardner and Elliott Bennett no longer around. Hughton can welcome back midfielder Jake Forster-Caskey but skipper Gordon Greer (knee) remains a doubt and fellow defender Bruno completes a three-match ban.
Cambridge v Luton
Ryan Donaldson, Harrison Dunk and Tom Elliott are still among those sidelined as Cambridge boss Richard Money struggles to establish a settled side. However, Ian Miller is available following a long-term Achilles problem.
Fraser Franks, Jake Howells, Ross Lafayette and Ricky Miller could come into the reckoning for Luton if boss John Still decides to freshen up his side. Paul Benson (broken leg), Luke Guttridge (foot), Alex Lawless (foot) and Pelly Ruddock (hamstring) remain out but the quartet should be back in contention this month.
Charlton v Blackburn
Oguchi Onyewu is a doubt for Charlton after pulling up with a hamstring strain in midweek, while keeper Stephen Henderson (shoulder), left-back Rhoys Wiggins (foot) and winger Franck Moussa (knee) remain sidelined and right-back Chris Solly could drop out if two matches in four days is too much for his troublesome knee. Callum Harriott will also be absent as he serves the second game of a three-match ban for his red card against Cardiff on Boxing Day.
Blackburn boss Gary Bowyer must decide whether to stick with Simon Eastwood in goal or recall Jason Steele who this week made his loan move from Boro permanent. Defender Tommy Spurr (groin) is set to make his first appearance of the season, while returning loanee John O’Sullivan could also feature. Corry Evans is still banned, Jason Lowe (foot) remains a couple of weeks away, Marcus Olsson is a major doubt, while Ryan Tunnicliffe was recalled by Fulham on New Year’s Day.
Derby v Southport
Derby head coach Steve McClaren may take the opportunity to rotate his squad with Kelle Roos possibly in line to replace Lee Grant in goal while the likes of Ivan Calero, Lee Naylor and Kwame Thomas may come into the reckoning. Paul Coutts, who has recently returned from a long injury lay-off, could be given the chance to get some much-needed minutes as he rebuilds his match sharpness. McClaren will check on Jamie Ward, who has been struggling with a thigh injury recently.
Southport are again set to be without Micah Evans and Joe Connor (both hamstring). Luke Foster has been managing a back problem but came through the busy Christmas period unscathed. Defender Clayton McDonald was released after missing last Sunday’s Vanarama Conference victory at Kidderminster, having made 13 appearances for the club on non-contract terms.
Doncaster v Bristol City
Richie Wellens (hamstring), Kyle Bennett (hamstring and thigh) and Nathan Tyson (calf) are all doubts for Doncaster. Rovers boss Paul Dickov said this week teenage midfielder Harry Middleton is close to earning a place in the starting line-up, while striker Curtis Main will also be pushing for a recall.
City hope to be able to field Matt Smith, who has scored three times in his last two games, with boss Steve Cotterill asking Fulham if they will let the on-loan striker play in this round. Cotterill has doubts over Kieran Agard (ankle) and Aaron Wilbraham (hip), but Chelsea loanee Todd Kane has been given permission to feature. Joe Bryan (thigh) and Wade Elliott (calf) will also be involved having shaken off their recent problems.
Fulham v Wolves
Lasse Vigen Christensen is out for Fulham with a hamstring strain while Costa Rican forward Bryan Ruiz will be checked over after he failed a late fitness test before the defeat to Brighton. Ryan Tunnicliffe has returned from his loan spell at Blackburn but is not eligible to play, while Tim Hoogland (hernia) and Fernando Amorebieta (knee) are still injured.
Kevin McDonald is serving a one-match ban after being sent off against Brentford but Bakary Sako will be available for Wolves before he joins up with Mali for the African Nations Cup. Danny Graham has returned to Sunderland following the end of a loan spell which saw him score one goal in five games but end up as an unused substitute in his last two matches.
Huddersfield v Reading
Huddersfield forward Sean Scannell is hoping to shake off a foot injury he picked up against Bolton, while Nahki Wells is pushing for his first start in four matches after scoring a late winner off the bench last time out. Boss Chris Powell has no other new injury or suspension worries, but defender Joel Lynch (groin) remains sidelined. Grant Holt is recovering from a serious knee injury back at parent club Wigan following the end of his loan spell.
Jamie Mackie could come into the Reading team after striker Glenn Murray returned to Crystal Palace at the end of his loan spell – Mackie came on as a substitute in the win over Norwich following a hamstring injury. Midfielder Danny Guthrie is finally fit having been hindered all season by a calf problem and is also in line to start. But Pavel Pogrebnyak, Anton Ferdinand (both calf) and Hope Akpan (shoulder) are set to miss out again.
Leicester v Newcastle
Leicester boss Nigel Pearson is set to make changes with Danny Drinkwater (groin) out. Paul Konchesky returns from suspension while midfielders Jeffrey Schlupp and Riyad Mahrez are available for their last match before the African Nations Cup.
Newcastle defender Steven Taylor will miss out as he awaits news on the ankle injury he picked up during the draw with Burnley. Papiss Cisse is suspended and has been released to join up with the Senegal squad ahead of the African Nations Cup, while midfielder Cheick Tiote and Mehdi Abeid are due to follow suit with the Ivory Coast and Algeria respectively. Goalkeepers Tim Krul (ankle) and Rob Elliot (thigh), Siem de Jong (thigh), Rolando Aarons (hamstring), Gabriel Obertan (thigh), Sammy Ameobi and Ryan Taylor (both knee) are all still out.
Millwall v Bradford
Millwall will be without suspended midfielder Shaun Williams and cup-tied new signing Paris Cowan-Hall. Right-back Carlos Edwards remains sidelined with a long-term knee injury but teenage defender Sid Nelson is set to keep his place after an impressive debut against the Cherries.
Goalkeeper Jordan Pickford is unavailable for Bradford while Andrew Davies and Filipe Morais are major injury doubts. Pickford, on a season-long loan, has not been given permission to play in the competition by parent club Sunderland. Morais’ short-term deal is due to end at the weekend and on-loan striker Jon Stead is scheduled to return to parent club Huddersfield so both players could make their final appearances for the club.
Preston v Norwich
Sylvan Ebanks-Blake could make his debut for Preston after signing a deal until the end of the season on Thursday. His new club have no fresh injury concerns and hope to welcome back winger Kyel Reid from illness. Bailey Wright (groin) was back on the bench last Sunday while fellow defender David Buchanan (hamstring) is also fully fit again. That leaves just long-term absentees Joe Garner and Jordan Hugill (both knee) on the sidelines, but on-loan striker Jermaine Beckford does have permission to play in this competition.
Norwich will be without defenders Martin Olsson and Carlos Cuellar and midfield pair Alex Tettey and Vadis Odjidja-Ofoe (knee). Javier Garrido is fit again and is in the travelling party.
Rochdale v Nottm Forest
Matty Lund and Jack O’Connell are both out for Rochdale. Lund has a dislocated shoulder and O’Connell’s loan spell at the club expires on January 3 and he did not have permission to play in the competition from parent club Blackburn anyway. Midfielder Stephen Dawson remains doubtful.
Henri Lansbury is serving the first of a two-match ban for Forest – Academy product Ben Osborn, who made a promising cameo off the bench against Birmingham, could replace Lansbury in the side. Kelvin Wilson is available again after suspension while fellow centre-half Jack Hobbs, out since mid-September with an ankle injury, has resumed training and it is hoped he will make his comeback at Spotland.
Rotherham v Bournemouth
Rotherham will be without Tom Lawrence and Emmanuel Ledesma after they were recalled by respective parent clubs Leicester and Middlesbrough. Boss Steve Evans is waiting to hear whether fellow loanees Scott Wootton and Reece James have been given permission to play.
Lee Camp is set to start for Bournemouth because, although number one goalkeeper Artur Boruc extended his loan deal with the Cherries on Wednesday, he is unavailable to feature as he can only be officially re-signed after the deadline for FA Cup registration. Tokelo Rantie has joined up with South Africa ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations and will miss out for Eddie Howe’s Championship table-toppers.
Tranmere v Swansea
Tranmere are sweating on the fitness of striker Kayode Odejayi (groin) but Liam Ridehalgh returns from suspension. Loanees Josh Thompson and Shamir Fenelon have permission to play but Calaum Jahraldo-Martin has been sent back to Hull, while Danny Woodards (foot) and Matt Hill (Achilles) are still injured.
Swansea boss Garry Monk may give fringe players Gerhard Tremmel, Jazz Richards, Kyle Bartley, Tom Carroll and Marvin Emnes a chance, with top scorer Wilfried Bony and midfielder Ki Sung-yueng now away on international duty, Jonjo Shelvey suspended and Jefferson Montero sidelined with a hamstring injury. Swansea must wait to see if Wayne Routledge will be available having appealed against the winger’s straight red card in the 1-1 draw at QPR on New Year’s Day.
West Brom v Gateshead
West Brom could be without Victor Anichebe (groin) but Jonas Olsson, who is still recovering from an Achilles operation, is definitely out. Georgios Samaras, Gareth McAuley, Jason Davidson and Brown Ideye could all start with new head coach Tony Pulis ready to give his players a clean slate.
Gateshead boss Gary Mills has no new injury concerns but goalkeeper Adam Bartlett will again deputise for injured number one Alex Baird while midfielder JJ O’Donnell is still expected to be sidelined with a foot injury. Mills is likely to keep faith with the side that drew 2-2 with Halifax on Boxing Day, which would mean another start for Albanian Under-21 international Valentin Gjokaj in defence.