Can Luton’s FA Cup train keep on rolling?
The FA Cup is back, and it’s in a particularly romantic mood. Following hot on the heels of Valentine’s Day, the fifth round is crammed with the kind of fixtures that’ll make football fans’ hearts flutter faster than a butterfly in a hurricane, as lower-league hopefuls take on more illustrious opponents. The Life’s a Pitch crew take a look at the games to watch, singling out Luton’s match with Championship side Millwall for special attention.
Luton are bidding to become the first non-league club to make it into the last eight since handlebar moustaches were the facial hair of choice for every fashion-conscious footballer. And the Mail on Sunday’s Ian Ridley thinks they can do it. “Having disposed of Norwich in the last round they’ve got to be given every chance of doing so, especially as Millwall are on a dodgy run of form.” But he adds a note of caution: “Luton themselves are going through a sticky patch and are slipping away from the play-off places.”
“You worry that the FA Cup games take so much focus,” adds Tom Hopkinson of the People, who thinks promotion is the prize the Hatters really want. “[Luton manager] Paul Buckle (pictured) will be judged on whether he can get Luton back into the Football League. But it will be a big game for both sides because they need to arrest the slides they are on.”
Footballer-turned-journalist Adrian Clarke says the Luton players will be relishing the tie. “It’s a no-lose situation for Luton,” he says. “They’ll see this as a match on the TV and, if they don’t go up to the Football League, it’s a chance to show everybody what a good player they are and get snapped up. Millwall will have to be tuned into the game mentally. If not, it’ll be a shock to their system and they could get knocked off their stride.”
Of the other stand-out fixtures, Ian thinks Everton will see off Oldham, conquerers of Liverpool in the previous round, while Adrian expects Blackburn to have “no chance” of beating Arsenal – but then he is a former Gunner. And Tom can’t see Chelsea slipping up against Brentford in their fourth round replay.
Watch the full video discussion by clicking on the play button in the image above.
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Watch the FA Cup fifth round live on BT Vision:
Luton v Millwall, midday, 16 February, ESPN
Oldham v Everton, 5.30pm, 16 February, ITV1
Chelsea v Brentford, 11.30am, 17 February, ITV1 (fourth round replay)
Huddersfield v Wigan, 3.30pm, 17 February, ITV1
Don’t have BT Vision? Find out how to get it