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...
ItÃ¢ÂÂs 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 Ã¢ÂÂ West Ham vs Arsenal, Aston Villa vs Blackburn and Wigan vs Hull Ã¢ÂÂ it gives the lesser teams hope with any one of these teams a good bet to reach the latter stages.
Anyway, for this round, FourFourTwoÃ¢ÂÂs 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 Ã¢ÂÂ 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 ease
FA2 preview: A North(ampton)m vs South(ampton) clash
FA1: Fire and ice at the Abbey
FA1 preview: Enter the big boys
FA4Q: Barked shins, dark toilets & no pies
FA4Q preview: Ploughing through
FA3Q: A local affair at Lowestoft
FA3Q preview: All hail the 4x4ers
FA2Q: Coke, poodle rock & half a fence
FA2Q preview: Let's spend a night together
FA1Q: Lawro, ducks & a care home
FA1Q preview: The preliminaries are over
FAP: Dogs, daughters & dodgy tellies
FAP preview: Preliminary problems
FAEP: Dereham dreams alive and kicking
FAEP preview: The long road starts here