FA Cup Betting: Westley to mastermind another knockout success

The FA Cup doubling up as a fine hat
The FA Cup doubling up as a fine hat

Alan Dudman may have a break in League One action this weekend, but a plethora of 'all-third tier' ties take place this weekend...

"Teams tend to go to the Pirelli and shut up shop, and it's usually up to Burton to break them down. This might be a slightly different game, and I am hoping the Posh can breach a defence that has kept nine clean sheets already this term."

Back Peterborough United to win @ 3.2011/5

Burton Albion 1.9520/21 v Peterborough United 3.2011/5, the draw 3.505/2

I'll start with a quote from the legendary Graham Westley on the eve of the FA Cup: "I'm a great believer that the Cup suits adventurous sides. We may not be a lot of things yet, but we are brave, positive and adventurous."

Westley has history too of course, famously guiding Stevenage to a 3-1 success against Newcastle United in 2011. I'll go into the form of each side shortly, but my gut feeling here is that of agreement with the Posh boss. Their style might just suit; which is why they are overpriced this weekend.

The game is a tantalising tactical affair. Burton have the best defence in League One (conceding 13 so far), whilst United have smashed their way to 32 goals (the most in the division). If only we could have a hybrid of the two.....

Indeed the visitors have quickly reaffirmed their status as the Over 2.5 Goal kings again - scoring in every single match in the third tier this term (including two five-fers and a four). Saturday's 3-2 defeat at Coventry was another brave go, but Posh conceded two late goals.

My other nagging doubt is how important an FA Cup run for Burton will be?

The Brewers and their miserly tendencies are apparent, but they don't score many either. Manager Jimmy Flloyd Hasselbaink can use two holding midfielders and urges his wingers to almost play like a 'Cafu' style full-back.

Teams tend to go to the Pirelli and shut up shop, and it's usually up to Burton to break them down. This might be a slightly different game, and I am hoping the Posh can breach a defence that has kept nine clean sheets already this term.

Recommended Bet
Back Peterborough United to win @ 3.2011/5

Rochdale 1.9010/11 v Swindon Town 4.804/1, the draw 3.7511/4

On a personal note, I was delighted to read that Martin Ling landed the vacant manager's job at Swindon Town this week. Many years ago I covered Leyton Orient whilst Ling was in charge at Brisbane Road, and he was absolutely superb to deal with (whatever request and time). Plus he even allowed me to play in a game at the club sharing the same midfield as him and Dean Smith (and I do like to remind people when I go there).

The 49-year-old is also an inspiration for speaking so openly about his illness, and Swindon have got themselves a fine manager.

Robins' fans might feel this will be a good time to play Rochdale, and with Town's wretched form of no victory in 11, the pressure is certainly off for this FA Cup clash. The Dale are without a win in six, and have drawn their last four (with three 0-0s). So if you're looking to trade early In-Play; the 0-0 correct score starting at 10.09/1 will throw up some possibilities.

Dale boss Keith Hill wants an attack-minded team, but his words were not exactly fulsome in praise for his players after Saturday's 2-2 draw at Southend. He commented that: "Too many have been given too many chances to repeat what they did last season, and our identity in certain areas of the pitch isn't great."

The hosts can play fairly direct, and I've said before here; they like to get the ball forward as quickly as possible. Their attacking full-backs are key to this system, but for whatever reason, it's not working at the moment. Hill could well change things for Saturday, but they look a more solid proposition than backing the away side.

Swindon's biggest blow could well be Ben Gladwin's non-availability - whose parent club QPR have refused him permission. Fellow loanees Adam El-Abd and Louis Thompson however will be free to play.

Recommended Bet
Back Rochdale to win @ 1.9010/11

Altrincham 4.507/2 v Barnsley 1.654/6, the draw 4.03/1

The game that Barnsley manager Lee Johnson would least desire. The Tykes have lost seven on the spin and are housed in the bottom four - it doesn't take a genius to work out that a defeat on Saturday could well spell the end for the current boss at Oakwell.

Johnson's side are mired in a relegation battle already - with just 14 points from 16 games. Better signs were apparent on Tuesday night when scoring three at Coventry, but they conceded four with their usual knack of the comedy goal.

Like so many teams at League One level, the 'poor goal conceded' problem is painful. At the moment, some of the Tykes' players would be as much at home at the Ealing film studios as they would on a football pitch.

Johnson remains optimistic, but how long can the run of defeats continue? Their back four is playing with too much fear at the moment, and with an attack that hadn't scored in three matches prior to this week's Coventry game - I wouldn't want to be a backer at such a short price.

I do not know an awful lot about Altrincham, and I've only seen one game at their level this season; that was Bromley against Braintree, and the standard is not so far removed from the third tier. Both those teams are going well in the National League - whereas Altrincham are towards the bottom however.

This is Barnsley's worst run since 1958, so I will be leaning towards a short-price lay.

Recommended Bet
Lay Barnsley @ 1.654/6

*You can read more tips as well as Ian Lamont's thoughts on the week's League Two teams in FA Cup action by visiting our dedicated English Football League section here on Betting.Betfair.

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