The FA Cup weekend kicks off with Wolves' visit to Chorley and Tom Carnduff is hoping the weather conditions lead to a low-scoring game.
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Chorley's spot in the fourth round was secured with a comfortable 2-0 victory over a very young Derby side in the last round, but they now face a tough test in Premier League outfit Wolves. The visitors are an incredibly short 1/8 for victory in 90 minutes.
The non-league side had 19 shots in that win. We can't look into it too much given the level of opposition they came up against, players with barely any first team experience, but they could see a few opportunities against a Wolves side struggling for form.
Nuno Espirito Santo's men saw victory over Crystal Palace in the last round, but that is the only win in their last seven games in all competitions. This game does present them with an opportunity to mount a bit of a cup run with a mid-table finish becoming increasingly likely in England's top-flight.
Wolves are operating with a fairly slim first team so it will be interesting to see what side Santo puts out on Friday evening. The fact that they are working with a smaller amount of players suggests that they will have little choice but to go fairly strong, and the boss' pre-match comments also hint at a decent selection.
"We don’t have to go much further back," he said. "Recent history in football tells you – especially in this competition – things can happen. We have to be aware of the responsibility we have. We will approach it exactly the same as any game, with the search for detail. The difference of the divisions doesn’t show you the game so we have to compete and play."
The really interesting part of his press conference when it comes to trying to predict the flow of this game is where he discusses the pitch at Chorley. With the weather this week and Chorley playing in sixth-tier of English football, it won't be easy for the visitors to play in the way they will have hoped for. West Ham know all about this after their trip to Stockport.
"We’re going to find a pitch that is not in the best conditions," he continued. "We already had photos taken of the pitch and we know that the FA have made an effort to try and preserve the pitch by covering. We are aware of all that, but we don’t know the weather conditions. We cannot expect anything other than having a very difficult pitch to play football and we have to adapt to it."
The bad news for Nuno is that the weather forecast suggests further rain before the game. Potentially rainy spells throughout the day and even snow during the game itself won't help the pitch at all. I appreciate this is meant to be a match preview not a weather report but it does mean it could well be a low-scoring contest.
The pictures on social media aren't promising for those hoping for a carpet-like surface. There is plenty of water surrounding the pitch and on top of the covers. This pitch will be very, very wet and rain during the game itself will only make matters worse.
Backing an away win with under 2.5 goals is available at a best price of 10/3, with around 3/1 across the board. That is where the best bet can be found in that game, but also backing Wolves with under 3.5 goals in the contest provides decent enough cover with 13/10 on offer if Chorley find a way through.
Score prediction: Chorley 0-2 Wolves (Sky Bet odds: 11/2)
Odds correct at 1700 GMT (21/01/21)
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