5 things to watch for in this weekend's FA Cup fixtures

The return of "Big Sam" is one of many talking points in this weekend's action

BY Simon Maguire 15:54 Friday 6 January 2017, 15:54 6 Jan 2017

Picture by: Nigel French / PA Archive/PA Images

The third round of the FA Cup takes place in England over the weekend and while it can provide a welcome relief for some - it can be a burden for others.

We look at some of the main talking points for the weekend ahead:  

Sam Allardyce returns to Bolton

Allardyce returns to the ground where he spent eight successful years between 1999 and 2007. It was almost the perfect fit. "Big Sam" kept the crowds coming and even enticed a few global stars to the erstwhile Reebok Stadium along the way: Nicolas Anelka, Fernando Hierro and Jay-Jay Okocha to name but a few 

Image: Manager Sam Allardyce celebrates his team gaining promotion. ©INPHO/Allsport

Bolton remained in the top flight after he left until 2012, but have since dropped down to League One and suffered severe financial difficulties.

Crystal Palace arrive struggling in the Premier League. They have only won one of their last ten league matches and sit a point above the relegation zone, while Bolton are currently second in League One. Sure to be given a good reception, will Sam's former side come back to haunt him? 

The "Crazy Gang" live on

In a contest unlikely to make too many headlines, lowly Stourbridge make the trip to Wycombe Wanderers. Matt Gould will mind the visiting goal, but his claim to fame (for the moment) is being the grandson of Bobby Gould, one of Wimbledon's infamous "Crazy Gang."  

Image: Dave Beasent celebrates with team mate Terry Phelan and manager Bobby Gould. ©INPHO/Allsport

Speaking to the BBC ahead of the match, Gould said: "I suppose I'm a little bit crazy at times. You need to have that little bit of madness to be a goalkeeper. I've definitely got that part of the family side in me."

Old Trafford welcomes Stam back

Jaap Stam was a defensive rock at United during his stay at the club, forming an instrumental part of the treble- winning team, before being sold almost 15 years ago to Lazio.

The Dutchman brings his Reading side to the ground he once called home, looking to cause a huge upset.

United are on a good run of form at the moment having won their last six matches in a row. However, Reading are also flying high in the Championship, sitting in third spot on 46 points.  

Image: Gary Neville, David Beckham and Jaap Stam of Manchester United. ©INPHO/Allsport

Goal king Cole 

The son of former Manchester United striker Andy Cole, Devante, will lead the line for Fleetwood Town against Bristol City.

Fleetwood are unbeaten in their last 11 games heading into the weekend ,and will fancy their chances against a side who have lost their last six on the bounce. 

In a further twist to the tie, Andy Cole used to play for Bristol City before heading to the bright lights of Newcastle and - eventually - Manchester. 

Image:  Barrington Coombs EMPICS Sport


A game both teams could do without

Premier League Champions Leicester City head to Merseyside to play Everton in a game you get the feeling neither would mind losing.

Leicester head into the match having won only two of their last ten games in the Premier League, and sit six points above the relegation zone.

Everton are higher up the table in seventh, but have only won three of their last ten league games. Missing out on a few rounds of cup action would suit both teams as they look tho get their seasons back on track. 

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