It’s the stuff of dreams at the Theatre of Dreams for non-league Crawley Town on Saturday, but don’t for a minute think that they’ll just turn up, take photographs and generally have a ball because the club that is also known as the Red Devils have really strived to live up to their nickname recently.
Their tie in the last round at Torquay showed us that with players rucking with ground staff during the warm-up, coaches constantly haranguing both the opposition dug-out and the fourth official during the match and then to cap it all two of their players almost coming to blows over the taking of a penalty.
Yes, they have a nasty streak to them and whilst the pots of dough invested following a remarkable sales pitch to potential investors in the Far East have seen them christened Man City by rivals in the Blue Square Premier, it has to be said that they’re definitely City with a whole lot of rabble-rousing in them.
It could help them as well on Saturday as it’s highly likely that reputations will count for nothing in front of the biggest crowd that the West Sussex club have ever played in front of.
Of course they’re not going to win – dismissive quotes of up to 33/1 about that eventuality tells us that they’ve got about the same chance as San Marino would have against England at Wembley.
And they probably won’t possess either the ability or the legs to land the 10/1 on offer about them taking Fergie’s mob back to the Broadfield Stadium, but they can conceivably keep it tight for long enough to bring home the bacon in a couple of different single punts that I’m interested in.
Certainly they’ll go out with a game plan to stifle United, leaving star striker Matt Tubbs isolated for long periods, safe in the knowledge that on the odd occasion that the ball does come anywhere near him, he’ll be ready to unleash something venomous.
Indeed to the extent that the first bet on the match has to be that Crawley score a goal at 2/1.
Obviously it’s Man United they face here and not the usual suspects of Newport County or Forest Green, but they do collectively know where the onion bag is and Fergie’s starting XI won’t bear any kind of resemblance to the one that he will send out four days later in Marseille.
And to be fair they’re not bad when on the back foot, too, with Pablo Mills and Dean Howell always ready to get a foot in or staying textbook tight.
Admittedly, they might end up trying to shackle the free-scoring Hernandez, but he’ll probably have one of the lesser lights such as Bebe or Gabriel Obertan up front with him.
Keep them quiet early and United will probably end up struggling to break them down and that brings us on to bet number two – back Crawley with a three-goal start at 5/4.
I’ve got a feeling that they can go to Old Trafford and emerge with heads held high – a correct score of 3-1 to the home side for example would ensure that you make hay with whichever of the two recommendations you choose to follow while at the same time watching the prawn sandwich brigade squirm in their seats for long intervals.
Something for the Weekend
3 homes: Stoke, Portsmouth & Swansea (4/1).
3 aways: Huddersfield, Chesterfield & Bury (16/1).
Steer clear of: Forest (Evens at home to Cardiff).
● Odds supplied by Taylor’s Bookmakers and Exchange Shop, LS28 6PA and may vary. For Inquiries telephone 01132 568268 during office hours.