Lower division clubs' FA Cup hopes raised after fifth-round draw

Wigan Athletic, Charlton Athletic, Sheffield Wednesday and Nottingham Forest are among the teams discussed.

When Manchester City were pitted with Chelsea, and Arsenal with Liverpool, eyebrows will have been raised around each of the participants left in the FA Cup, not least the least fancied.

The Premier League's top four will be reduced to just two after the fifth-round, with sixth-placed Everton also in among the final 16. 

10 Premier League clubs - potentially 11 with Fulham expected to see off League One strugglers Sheffield United in a replay - are left to battle for a place in the quarter-finals but, despite the lack of lower-league opposition, their hopes will be boosted tenfold with four all-Premier League ties.

In addition to the two heavyweight clashes, Everton play host to Swansea, while Sunderland are at home to Southampton. 

It must surely act as motivation to the five or six non-top flight sides left in the running that the opposition from the Premier League are all currently situated in the bottom half of the table.

Brighton entertain Hull City who, despite having an impressive season to date, are just five points off the drop zone while the Seagulls' form has picked up in recent months to leave them on the fringes of the play-offs.

Wigan Athletic, having disposed of Premier League opponents in Crystal Palace at the weekend, will also fancy their chances of going to bottom-of-the-table Cardiff City and pulling off another upset, albeit not a major one.

The reward for Nottingham Forest or Preston North End meanwhile, should they see off Sheffield United, would be a trip to Fulham, who themselves have struggled for consistency throughout the campaign.

There will certainly be a member from the second tier of English football present in the quarter-finals after Sheffield Wednesday and Charlton Athletic were drawn together and the remainder of the draw can revitalise what had been a rather stale FA Cup to date after the bore of the fourth-round draw and a scarcity of giant-killings.

The fifth-round equivalent has mustered a couple of glamour ties, some potential upsets and the distinct possibility of a substantial representation for the so-called minnows when the balls are picked for round six.

image: © flawka

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