Chris O (follow on Twitter: @COakleyFtbl)
Sat 26 January 2008

SPAOTP's Road to Wembley: FA Cup 4th Round Proper

What an exciting Road to Wembley we've had so far! Already we're in Round 4, and now we find ourselves following Havant and Waterlooville as they travel to Anfield to hopefully beat the mighty Liverpool.

But what a journey it's been since the First Qualifying Round of this season's FA Cup (sponsored by E.On). We started off with Burnham Ramblers as they went into battle against Chelmsford City and since then we've been (in spirit) to Hemel Hempstead, Hayes and Yeading, Maidenhead, Horsham, Swansea and now to our first Premier League venue, Liverpool.

The strange thing is when we were supporting Swansea City in the last round, we were expecting them to make the trip up north to play the former European champions, but we were wrong. Havant and Waterlooville drew the first match 1-1 in Swansea, but the replay back at their own ground ignited some real fireworks as the Conference South side won 4-2.

So in somewhat of a state of shock, we bid farewell to The Swans and put a welcoming arm around our latest team on the Road to Wembley, Havant and Waterlooville. Apart from that recent shock win over Swansea and their big game today against Rafa's Liverpool team, what do we know about them?

Havant & Waterlooville are currently 12th in the Conference South table and have lost only one of their last seven home games, that being against Hampton and Richmond Borough last November. Sadly their away form is letting them down at present - in fact they've won only one of their ten away games so far this season, and that was the first one they played back in August.

So with work to be done on their consistency, whose job is it to crack the whip and pull the boys into shape? The answer: Shaun Gale. He's a former player with Barnet, Exeter City and Havant & Waterlooville who turned manager with The Hawks in October when Ian Baird left for Eastleigh.

And who can we look out for as a source of goals during today's match? Well among the scorers against Swansea were Rocky Baptiste, Jamie Collins and Tom Jordan, all of whom have scored league goals earlier this season, but you may also want to keep an eye on Craig Watkins and Richard Pacquette as they have a keen eye for goal too.

Much more than that, all we can say is good luck Havant & Waterlooville. They've got a tough task playing the likes of Carragher, Gerrard and Torres, but even if they do meet their fate today, they'll have already achieved greatness in this season's FA Cup. Let's wish them well and who knows - something amazing might just happen if you wish hard enough. Swansea City fans can testify to that...

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