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Stockport will be looking to get back into the Football League this season and have gone the right way about it so far as they sit fourth in the Conference National.
Unfortunately, league form isn’t going to get them very far as they sit a full 86 places lower than their visitors for this match, and in theory this should only go one way.
In truth, Stockport doesn’t have the best record in this competition either, but that’s to be expected. This is the furthest they’ve made it in this competition since 2006/07, while they haven’t progressed further than this since 2000/01.
The last 3rd round tie they played was also against Premier League opposition in Watford, who ran out 4-1 winners in that clash nearly 14 years ago to the day.
In fact, the Hatters have faced Premier League opposition three times since the turn of the millennium, losing out in all three and conceding exactly four times in each, and that’s very much an unwanted record heading into this.
West Ham -1 Handicap
The Hammers have been impressive in spells this season, and after a congested festive period we’d fully expect David Moyes to ring the changes for this one. While that should, in theory, weaken the side, the players coming into the side will be relishing the opportunity to impress.
The London side have made it past this stage in five of the last six seasons, and although historically they have strong record in this competition, they’ve only gone beyond the fifth round twice in the last 14 seasons, though in any case this should be a routine victory and the hosts will be needing a lot of luck on their side if they want to cause a serious upset.
The hosts’ previous record against Premier League clubs is telling, even if none are in recent memory. They also come into this having won just one of their last six league outings, and on that basis it’s the visitors on the handicap that provide immense value.
In their two matches against lower league opposition this season the Hammers have won 3-0 and 5-1 over Charlton and Hull respectively, while going back even further to the beginning of 2017/18, all nine of West Ham’s victories over lower league opponents have come by at least two clear goals, so we’re happy to get behind that outcome again here.