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5 best FA Cup third round ties to look out for in January as fixtures confirmed

Eighth-tier Marine were handed the draw of a lifetime in the third round of the FA Cup, after being paired with Premier League leaders Tottenham Hotspur.

Northern Premier League Division One side Marine became only the second side from the eighth tier to reach the third round after beating Havant & Waterlooville after extra time on Sunday.

Marine boss Neil Young told on BBC One: “It’s an unbelievable draw. We will plan as best we can. Usually with Jose’s teams, he puts pretty strong sides out. We have won seven games to get here and this is a great reward.”

Club captain Niall Cummins – an Arsenal fan – was present alongside Young at the draw and told BBC Radio Merseyside afterwards: “I don’t know where to begin.

“I think we’re officially the lowest-ranked team left in it and, judging by the Premier League table at the moment, they’re the hardest team we could have possibly got.”

Their meeting with Spurs is not the only standout tie of the third round. Here’s a look at five of the best…

It’s Marine for Mourinho

Marine v Tottenham

Premier League Division One North West club Marine became only the second side from the eighth tier to reach the third round when they beat Havant and Waterlooville after extra time on Sunday.

The Merseyside part-timers could not have asked for more after being rewarded with a home tie against Jose Mourinho’s current Premier League leaders.

Marine players celebrate their FA Cup second round win

Chorley v Derby

Chorley, in National League North, have beaten Wigan and Peterborough on their way to the third round and a home tie against the Sky Bet Championship’s bottom club will hold no fears for the non-league side.

Wayne Rooney took sole charge of Derby at the weekend and it remains to be seen whether he will be in the dug-out as the Rams’ permanent new manager.

Will Rooney still be in the Rams dugout?

Aston Villa v Liverpool

Liverpool, who last won the FA Cup in 2006, will face Premier League opposition at this stage of the competition for the fourth successive season after two clashes with Merseyside rivals Everton sandwiched a third-round tie at Wolves.

Villa, currently eighth in the table, are seven-time winners but last lifted the trophy way back in 1957.

Will we see a repeat?

Crawley v Leeds

Marcelo Bielsa’s side will head to League Two side Crawley with some trepidation having famously been dumped out of the FA Cup by non-league sides Histon in 2008 and Sutton United in 2017.

Leeds have also crashed out against lower league sides Rochdale and Newport in recent years. Crawley have beaten Torquay and AFC Wimbledon in this year’s competition.

Stockport v West Ham

Stockport reached the third round for the first time in 14 years by defeating National League rivals Yeovil 3-2 after extra time at the weekend. County spent six seasons in the fifth tier before winning promotion in 2019.

Three-time winners West Ham are 11th in the Premier League, but were knocked out of the League Cup by County in 1996.

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