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The Championship outfit best placed for an FA Cup surge

| 27.01.2014

After a fifth-round draw that saw the current top-four teams in the Premier League pair off, Manchester City emerged as 11/4 jollies in an ultra-tight market, with fourth-favourites Liverpool attracting the most generous price of the quartet at a mere 6/1.

With this in mind, the value must lie elsewhere and as three of the last 12 finalists have either come from the Championship or dropped down there immediately afterwards, treble-figure prices about  some of the remaining second-tier sides warrant investigation with a view to an each-way nibble, especially considering Ladbrokes pay out 1/2 odds on the first two.

Current holders Wigan obviously catch the eye at 100/1 and their resurgence of form under new boss Uwe Rosler will stand them in good stead away to Cardiff in the next round, but it’s hard to imagine the FA Cup gods smiling on the Latics two seasons in a row.

At least one second-tier side is guaranteed a place in the sixth round of the world’s greatest domestic cup competition, as Sheffield Wednesday will face Charlton at their Hillsborough home.

However, both these teams will be bogged-down by Championship survival missions, with the latter currently third-bottom and the former just two points better off, so they’re easily swerved at 100/1 and 150/1 respectively.

Brighton are the shortest-priced club outside the top flight left in the competition at 66/1, which is somewhat surprising as their opponents Hull have had little trouble traversing the FA Cup this term, with 2-0 wins at Middlesbrough and Southend in the previous two rounds.

Steve Bruce’s men are vying for top-ten honours in the Premier League and will fancy their chances of another away cup triumph against a Seagulls side that’s failed to win three of their last five league games at the Amex.

That leaves Championship play-off hopefuls Nottingham Forest of the second-tier springers, who must get past League One Preston at the second time of asking before facing the winners of Sheffield United and Fulham’s fourth-round replay.

If the Tricky Trees can see off their lowly Lancashire opponents at Deepdale they’re likely to meet Rene Meulensteen’s side at Craven Cottage, where Fulham’s fans have seen their team win just eight times in 23 games since the start of last year.

Billy Davies’ boys have been tough as teak to beat of late and a 3-2 reverse at home to Reading in November was their only loss in the last 14 matches in all competitions.

At 100/1 in the outright betting with an advantageous draw in the bag, Forest look the most likely of the remaining ‘unfashionables’ to be walking down Wembley Way this May.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Alex Fortune