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Cup excitement mounts as Leeds finally get a home draw
Tuesday, 9th Jan 2024 22:51 by Tim Whelan

After being drawn away a record 13 consecutive times, we finally came out of the hat with a home tie against Plymouth Argyle in the fourth round. And there is a growing feeling that this might be our year for a bit of a run to the later stages of the competition.

It’s always exciting to watch the FA Cup draw when we’re still in it. As we’ve never played Wrexham in a competitive match I thought that moment might come, but that possibility was snuffed out very early in the proceedings. Perhaps we’d get Maidstone, to give the nation the chance to unite in wanting us to lose, but no. They’re going to play Ipswich instead.

It seemed to take ages for our number to come out, with a few tense moments when a series of clubs I didn’t fancy going to were drawn at home, followed by relief a second later by relief as someone else was picked out to have to face them. West Brom came out and a trip to the Hawthorns seemed inevitable, given we’ve just been there and that as the table currently stands we’d go there again for our first game in the play-offs.

But no, on and on it went. I have to admit that each time a new tie was to be drawn I shouted ‘number 12’ at the screen, wanting a home tie more than anything else. And finally, the FA blundered and my wish was granted, as I jumped out of my chair to celebrate before I even knew who we were playing.

And it was of course Plymouth Argyle. Who should be a much easier option than some of the teams we could have played, but we have to remember that they gave us a difficult game when they came to Elland Road in November. They battled hard throughout the game and in the end we had to hang on for our 2-1 win after they pulled a goal back late on.

But the opportunity for a cup run is there, especially as there were a couple more ties where some of the leading Premier League clubs were drawn against each other. But how much do we want this? Promotion is a clear priority for the 49ers, though I have seen a social media post from someone who would rather we won the FA Cup, on the grounds that we’ve been in the Premier League recently, but haven’t won the cup since 1972!

We could do both, but the only team who have won promotion and the FA Cup in the same season were West Brom in 1930/31! There’s always the chance that this could turn out to be like our 1986/7 season, when we lost both the FA semi-final and the play-off final, but if we can utilise the squad in the way that we did at Peterborough I’d love to get through to the later stages, at least.


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