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FA Cup | Fourth Round Qualifying
Oct 15, 2022 at 1pm UK


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Preview: Blyth Spartans vs. Wrexham - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Blyth Spartans vs. Wrexham - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Saturday's FA Cup clash between Blyth Spartans and Wrexham, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

National League North side Blyth Spartans will welcome the visit of Wrexham this weekend for a highly anticipated FA Cup Fourth Round qualifying tie.

A place in the first round proper is up for grabs, with the Welsh side heavy favourites heading into Saturday's clash.

Match preview

Having gained international notoriety through owners Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, a star-studded Wrexham side have begun the National League season in fine form and currently sit second in the table.

A recent defeat to Notts County saw their eight-game unbeaten streak fall by the wayside, but Phil Parkinson's side bounced back in emphatic fashion, triumphing 7-5 over Barnet last time out.

It took Wrexham's goals tally for the season to 38 goals, as the Red Dragons prove to be entertainers both on and off the pitch.

A recent documentary starring ownership duo Reynolds and McElhenney gained worldwide interest, with the club able to use their increased popularity to push for the introduction of streaming matches in the National League.

While the debate rumbles on, this weekend's FA Cup tie will be broadcast to an international audience, as American broadcaster ESPN will show the fixture.

Unheard of at this level, Wrexham will now have the eyes of the world on their weekend clash with Blyth, as they look to avoid any potential FA Cup upsets.

Wrexham have only managed to progress out of the qualification phase of the FA Cup in three of their previous seven seasons, albeit all of those premature exits came under the former ownership.

For Blyth, the televised fixture will bring about an unprecedented amount of publicity and the side from the North-East will be keen to perform in front of the cameras.

Having narrowly avoided relegation last time around, Blyth have started the season in familiar form and currently occupy one of the four relegation places in the National League North.

Just two wins from their opening 11 matches represent a worrying start for the Spartans, who have progressed past Guiseley and Chorley to get to this stage.

As is the case for many non-league clubs, the FA Cup holds a special place in the hearts of many supporters, with the Spartans' run to the fifth round in 1977-78 their fondest memory in the competition.

The side that knocked Blyth out that year? None other than Saturday's opponents Wrexham, who needed a replay to progress past the non-league side in 1978.

Wrexham would go on to face Arsenal in the next round, with another famous cup run potentially on the cards for both teams this time around.

Blyth Spartans form (all competitions):

Wrexham form (all competitions):

Team News

On the back of his brace against Barnet last weekend, Paul Mullin's tally for the season now sits at 11 goals from 13 games, but there are suggestions that he is likely to sit this game out.

Sam Dalby and Elliot Lee are in contention to come into the fold, as Parkinson looks to rotate his side ahead of a bust schedule.

Number one pick between the sticks this season has been Mark Howard, but much like in attacking areas, rotation is likely for Wrexham, with Rob Lainton the most obvious candidate to be given the nod.

Josh Gillies netted the only goal of the game for Blyth in the last round against Chorley, with the midfielder likely to be rewarded with another start this weekend.

Goalkeeper Alex Mitchell will be tasked with keeping the National League's most potent attack quiet this weekend.

The hosts will likely turn to captain JJ O'Donnell, who has often been a creative spark for Blyth in the National League South at times.

Blyth Spartans possible starting lineup:
Lainton; McFadzean, Tozer, Hayden, Cleworth; Forde, O'Connor, Young, Jones; Dalby, Lee

Wrexham possible starting lineup:
Mitchell; Evans, Lees, Elsdon, Bodenham; Richardson, Hickey, O'Donnell, Deverdics; McKeown, Main

We say: Blyth Spartans 1-4 Wrexham

Despite the romanticism the FA Cup often provides, it is mightily difficult to see anything but a Wrexham victory this weekend.

A squad capable of challenging much higher up the pyramid, expect the Red Dragons to cruise into the next round with relative ease on Saturday.

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