FA3 preview: The Third man marches on the capital

Fearless blogger Neil Redpath continues his mission to see a game in every round of the FA Cup. It's time for game number nine...

It’s been a long long December waiting for the Third Round to creep up upon us.

But at last, 35 days after the last round, the famous cup competition kicks back into action and invites the big guns into the frame.

Hardly seems fair that teams such as Barrow and Forest Green, who have already played three rounds to get to this stage, are now thrown in at the deep end.

Barrow play Premier League giants Sunderland, while Forest Green face the media maelstrom that is Notts County.

The draw for the Third Round took place on Sunday November 29, and with three all-Premier League ties – West Ham vs Arsenal, Aston Villa vs Blackburn and Wigan vs Hull – it gives the lesser teams hope with any one of these teams a good bet to reach the latter stages.

Anyway, for this round, FourFourTwo’s intrepid explorer braves the capital city with an intriguing tie between 1975 runners-up Fulham and 1910 & 1912 semi-finalists Swindon Town.

With the weather this week being somewhat arctic, I book my train ticket – only to be told that due to engineering maintenance, half of the journey will be by road.

An extra hour and a half onto the journey time is all I need. Luckily the weather forecast looks good so not much chance of the game being called off... famous last words.

Due to this being New Year's Eve, I will sign off now, as beer awaits me and tomorrow will be one long headache.

But then it's Third Round day!

Previously, on The Long Road To Wembley:FA2: South beats North with easeFA2 preview: A North(ampton)m vs South(ampton) clashFA1: Fire and ice at the AbbeyFA1 preview: Enter the big boysFA4Q: Barked shins, dark toilets & no piesFA4Q preview: Ploughing throughFA3Q: A local affair at LowestoftFA3Q preview: All hail the 4x4ersFA2Q: Coke, poodle rock & half a fenceFA2Q preview: Let's spend a night togetherFA1Q: Lawro, ducks & a care homeFA1Q preview: The preliminaries are overFAP: Dogs, daughters & dodgy telliesFAP preview: Preliminary problemsFAEP: Dereham dreams alive and kickingFAEP preview: The long road starts here 

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