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FA Cup: Who will be victims in this season's third round ties?

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FA Cup: Who will be victims in this season's third round ties?

This weekend’s FA Cup football schedule comes as a welcome break from the frantic return to domestic action since the World Cup break.

This will provide an opportunity for some Premier League teams to rotate their starting line-ups and provide opportunities for some of their younger stars to shine in the first team.

With that in mind, it means there could be some potential slip-ups in this round of competition and, here, Sportsmail recognizes the possibility of a shock in each of the games.

The FA Cup returns on Friday night and there's a whole host of teams involved this weekend

The FA Cup returns on Friday night and there’s a whole host of teams involved this weekend

GILLINGHAM v LEICESTER 12.30pm

Chance of surprise: 2/5

This is what the third round of the FA Cup is all about: The bottom club of League Two hosting the 2021 winners.

But with new ownership in Priestfield, US businessman Brad Galinson, and some firm appointments to senior executive roles at football and board level, Gills could turn around.

Manager Neil Harris was an FA Cup runner-up as a player at Millwall and said this week that he ‘loves’ the Cup – but added that his focus is on League Two survival. Having not won in 12 league games, with just seven goals scored after 23 matches in the fourth tier this season, an upset seems a wild bet here.

Leicester will be hoping to avoid any slip ups when they travel to Gillingham on Saturday

Leicester will be hoping to avoid any slip ups when they travel to Gillingham on Saturday

TOTTENHAM v PORTSMOUTH 12.30pm

Chance of surprise: 2/5

A replay of the 2010 semi-final in which Portsmouth went 2-0 up before losing to Chelsea in the final.

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Pompey were relegated from the Premier League that month after problems off the pitch. Now in League One, they sacked manager Danny Cowley this week after a run of one win in 14 league games.

They boast the team quirk of holding the FA Cup for the longest uninterrupted period — they won it in 1939 and it wasn’t played again until 1946 because of the Second World War. The 2008 winners will bring nearly 9,000 fans to north London but a classic shock is a tall order.

Portsmouth will be without Dane Scarlett - who is on loan at Premier League outfit Spurs

Portsmouth will be without Dane Scarlett – who is on loan at Premier League outfit Spurs

CHESTERFIELD v WEST BROM 3pm

Chance of surprise: 3/5

Chesterfield joins Boreham Wood and Wrexham as one of three non-League sides in the third round. The Spireites are third in the National League and have been past this stage just once since their run to the semi-finals in 1997.

Back then, they came within a whisker of the final, two goals and a man before being denied a winning goal that crossed the line but was not awarded. Manager Paul Cook returns after spells at Portsmouth, Ipswich and Wigan.

COVENTRY CITY v WREXHAM 5.30pm

Chance of surprise: 4/5

IT IS HARD to avoid the use of Hollywood cliches when talking about Wrexham these days but, as Oscars season approaches, it will be a box-office script to see Phil Parkinson’s side embark on a Cup run. This is their 15th season in the National League and they are two points behind leaders Notts County with a game in hand.

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They are unbeaten in 17 games and boss Parkinson boasted one of the biggest FA Cup shocks in recent memory when his Bradford side toppled Chelsea in 2015. It was all the ingredients for a shocker.

Wrexham are the most likely side to pull off an upset in this weekend's FA Cup fixtures

Wrexham are the most likely side to pull off an upset in this weekend’s FA Cup fixtures

SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY v NEWCASTLE 6pm

Chance of shock: 1/5

The tie of the round. Wednesday boss Darren Moore says he can’t wait to get a taste of the roaring atmosphere at Hillsborough tonight.

‘Two big, historic clubs in the football pyramid with huge fan bases,’ he said. ‘When you talk to anyone outside of football, they immediately know the names Wednesday and Newcastle.’

It was the first FA Cup meeting of the sides since 1981, when Chris Waddle scored a brace. The Owls are unbeaten in 17 games and are second in League One so will fancy their chances of an upset.

CARDIFF CITY v LEEDS 2pm tomorrow

Chance of surprise: 2/5

Leeds have exited in the third round for five consecutive seasons, with two embarrassing afternoons coming at Newport and Crawley.

The last time these sides met in the FA Cup was in 2002, when Premier League leaders Leeds were stunned by third-tier Cardiff after goals from Graham Kavanagh and Scott Young at Ninian Park.

Fans stormed the pitch and supporters fought in violent full-time scenes.

Jesse Marsch will be hoping to get back to winning ways when his side face Cardiff City

Jesse Marsch will be hoping to get back to winning ways when his side face Cardiff City

ASTON VILLA v STEVENAGE 4.30pm

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Chance of surprise: 2/5

Stevenage have not made it past round three since 2014 but Steve Evans’ side are flying in League Two. ‘Steve-Evans-nage’ head to Villa Park having lost just once in 15 league games and bolstered their squad with two signings this week.

Stevenage stunned Premier League opposition in 2011 when they beat Newcastle at Broadhall Way and will be seeking another upset, but it looks like a tall order against Unai Emery’s improving Villa side.

OXFORD UNITED v ARSENAL 8pm

Chance of shock: 1/5

Arsenal players will wear a one-off all-white kit for this tie as part of the club’s ongoing initiative to tackle knife crime and youth violence.

The ‘No More Red’ campaign also saw the Gunners wear all-white for their tie with Nottingham Forest at this stage last season.

Oxford will be hoping for a repeat of Forest’s heroics and manager Karl Robinson says it could be a distraction from their league form. The U’s have won just one of their last six and are 14th in League One.

Arsenal will be looking to maintain their form on their trip to League One side Oxford United

Arsenal will be looking to maintain their form on their trip to League One side Oxford United