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Can EFL minnows defy the odds in FA Cup round four?

The fourth round of the FA Cup takes place this weekend and with 18 EFL clubs still in the competition, there are a number of fixtures that have giant-killing potential.

There will be at least five clubs outside of the top flight in the fifth round, all looking to match or even improve upon Millwall’s quarter-final appearance last term.

The two tastiest fixtures both take place on Sunday and pit League One strugglers against global superclubs that have 19 FA Cup trophies between them.

On the back of their extra-time triumph against Watford in Thursday night’s replay, Tranmere Rovers have less than three days to recover as Manchester United make the short trip to Birkenhead.

The Super White Army came from 3-0 down at Vicarage Road on January 4th to force a re-run on home turf, and Paul Mullin’s 104th-minute strike at Prenton Park completed the most unlikely of third-round victories.

Rovers are no strangers to a cup run having made the League Cup final 20 years ago and the FA Cup quarter-finals three times in five years (2000, 2001 and 2004), and will fancy their chances to cause a surprise despite just one win in their last 10 league games.

United themselves are in terrible form and will see this as an opportunity to regain some momentum. UK bookmakers have the Red Devils priced at 2/5 to emerge victorious, with Tranmere at 7/1 and the draw at 7/2.

Given the way things are going for Ole Gunnar Solskjær, this may be a game in which punters have a bet on Tranmere, taking advantage of one of the many betting promotions available this week when doing so.

On Sunday evening, world champions Liverpool travel to Shropshire to take on Shrewsbury Town, currently placed 16th in League One.

Only once have the two sides met in competitive combat before, and that was at the same stage of the same tournament in 1996. 

It was a comprehensive 4-0 triumph for the Reds back then, and they are priced odds-on at 2/5 to take care of business at Montgomery Waters Meadow.

Online betting sites are offering odds of 11/2 for the Shrews to pull off what would be a huge upset and spoil any plans Liverpool may have of a Premier League, Champions League, and FA Cup treble.

A lot will depend on Jürgen Klopp’s team selection. The German made wholesale changes for the third-round tie against Merseyside rivals Everton earlier this month, but Liverpool still had enough about them to advance 1-0.

Brentford vs Leicester on Saturday afternoon is another appealing match-up, with the in-form hosts more than capable of giving the Premier League high-flyers a run for their money. The Bees are a 10/3 shot, with Leicester by no means a heavy favourite at 5/6.

Another top tier club that the bookies feel might have a tricky task on the road is Sheffield United, whose odds to win at Millwall are 11/8. The Lions got the furthest of any Football League side last year, beating Everton on their way to the last eight. You can get them at 9/4 to advance here.

Hull City entertain Chelsea at the KCOM Stadium in the Saturday evening kick-off, while all other Premier League vs EFL clashes take place at the home of the bookmakers’ favourites: Newcastle vs Oxford United, West Ham vs West Brom, and Manchester City vs Fulham.

For those that foresee a few upsets across round four, the STS welcome bonus is the pick of the free bet offers for football accumulators right now.

This article was brought to you by The Football League Paper. On-sale every Sunday, the newspaper provides extensive coverage for all 72 Football League clubs with news, features and gossip plus comprehensive match reports.
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