Stick-on Stoke look replay bankers

  • By: Ben Coley
  • Last Updated: January 15 2013, 20:11 GMT

There are still 11 ties to be decided in the third round of the FA Cup and Tuesday night sees 18 teams battle for nine spots in the last 32.

Tony Pulis will name a strong Stoke side
Tony Pulis will name a strong Stoke side

We're already on Stoke to make the fourth round at 4/6 (now 1/4) but it's impossible to ignore the same price about them beating Crystal Palace on Tuesday night.

These sides played out a pretty poor first offering at Selhurst Park but you just get the feeling that Tony Pulis was happy to bring it back to the Britannia, where his side are always hard to beat.

Of course, they were smashed 4-0 by Chelsea on Saturday but that result rather flattered the Champions League winners, and this is clearly a big step down in grade regardless.

Palace have been struggling for a while on the road with their last success more than two months ago, and Ian Holloway may consider this to be a fixture he can sacrifice especially with Manchester City waiting in the next round.

Tellingly, he said after the first game that he wanted to "win or lose", perhaps an indication that a replay was not at all desired, and Holloway's focus is understandably on a Championship campaign that may involve three extra fixtures should Palace wish to reach the Premier League.

Stoke's run to the final of this competition two seasons back saw them beaten by City in the final and with revenge on the agenda in round four, I firmly expect a strong side to beat a below-strength travelling party with little fuss.

Elsewhere, it might be worth chancing Sheffield Wednesday given that they're bigger than 2/1 to beat League One outfit MK Dons.

Of course, the gap between these sides isn't a particularly big one - a fact highlighted by a 0-0 draw in the first game - but I think Wednesday deserve to be favourites.

First and foremost, they've really improved on the road of late. Saturday's victory over high-flying Hull confirmed the strength of their form, with previous 1-0 wins at Barnsley and Bolton meaning they've now conceded just once in their last four away games.

In contast, MK Dons let favourite backers down again at the weekend in what was by most accounts a lacklustre display against Bury, and their problems have been at the back with just one clean sheet in seven at home.

Wednesday boss Dave Jones was full of praise for his youngsters at the weekend and he had no qualms about a replay, suggesting it simply offers his squad another bite of the cherry, and the rare chance to back the better side with better recent form as outsiders should be taken.

  • Preview posted at 1700 GMT on 13/01/2013.