The FA Cup 4th Round replays take centre stage midweek. Do note the ties will go to extra-time and then penalties in the event of the games finishing in a draw after 90 minutes.
Birmingham City to win
Birmingham City v Coventry City
Tenants Coventry picked up a goalless draw against landlords Birmingham City at St Andrew’s last month – the Sky Blues are currently using St Andrew’s for home games having failed to agree a deal to stay at the Ricoh Arena – but I think the Championship side will make it through to the 5th Round back on ‘home’ soil.
It must have been a strange feeling for Blues’ supporters to watch their side – who were wearing their third strip – from a different part of the ground in the original tie, but they will be back in their own seats midweek.
Blues won their first home game since October against Nottingham Forest at the weekend and I think the ‘hosts’ will edge a close game.
Game to finish 1-1
Cardiff City v Reading
This will be the third game between the sides in ten days with the original 4th Round tie at the Madejski Stadium and the Championship game at the Cardiff City Stadium on Friday both finishing in 1-1 draws.
There is obviously very little between the sides and it would not surprise me if we went into extra-time or penalties before we know who will entertain Sheffield United in the last 16.
Wayne Rooney to score anytime
Derby County v Northampton Town
It was great to see my old teammate Wayne Rooney put on a masterclass at Pride Park on Friday with his stunning freekick the icing on the cake of Derby’s 4-0 win over Stoke City.
That was Rooney’s second goal in as many games for the Rams and I expect to see the hosts make it safely through to Round 5 at the expense of a Northampton side who will be cheered on by more than 4,000 travelling supporters.
Promotion from League 2 is the priority for the Cobblers, however, and I think it will be the hosts who go through to the 5th Round where they will entertain Wayne’s old club Manchester United – a mouth-watering prospect.
Liverpool to win and both teams to score
Liverpool v Shrewsbury Town
Jurgen Klopp and his senior players are on their winter break and under 23’s coach Neil Critchley will take charge of a young Liverpool side against Shrewsbury who came from two goals down to earn a replay last month.
There is something of an aura around Anfield at this moment in time and I believe the Reds will win an entertaining tie against a Shrews side who have lost both games since the original 2-2 draw and have failed to find the back of the net in those defeats.
Newcastle to win
Oxford United v Newcastle United
Steve Bruce fielded a first-choice side in the original tie at St James’ Park and I expect him to play a similarly strong team at the Kassam Stadium especially as his side do not play again until Sunday week.
The Magpies are unbeaten in their last four league games, but they were bitterly disappointing against Norwich at the weekend in a game that saw the Canaries have 17 attempts at goal. Indeed, if it were not for the brilliance of keeper Martin Dubravka the bottom club would have done the double over Newcastle.
The TV cameras are at the Kassam Stadium in the hope of seeing a Cup shock, but if nothing else this is a resilient United side and I think they will be the team visiting the Hawthorns next month in Round 5.