The five FA Cup second round fixtures to keep your eye on this weekend

FA Cup

The big Wimbledon trip to Milton Keynes feature along with past winners Preston North End in a potential upset and Alfreton Town, Harrogate Town, Hastings United and Chelmsford City flying the flag for the non-league.

Here are five ties to watch...

MK Dons v AFC Wimbledon

Ever since the disbanding of the original Wimbledon FC in 2004 and the rebrand at Milton Keynes I have been waiting for this fixture. Eight years on and the two teams’ face each other for the first time under what is a massive cloud.

On a purely footballing basis Wimbledon are going to have it tough against the League One outfit who are one of the countries in-form sides under Karl Robinson. However this is the FA Cup and I don’t care what people say it has not lost any of its magic. I am pretty sure every neutral will be hoping for an away win. Personally I would like a draw so Wimbledon can take Milton Keynes ‘home’ but that is a bit romantic; even for a footballing sap like me to believe possible.

One thing for sure is that this will be an emotionally charged and impassioned fixture that should not be missed.

Alfreton Town v Leyton Orient

The Conference National side welcome League One Leyton Orient to the North Street Ground in Derbyshire hoping to cause an FA Cup upset. After masterminding a win against Wrexham former Barnsley and Rotherham defender Nicky Law is in charge of The Reds and has been since 2007.

In that time he has helped guide them from Conference North strugglers into the Conference National. The former Chesterfield boss will face opposite number Russell Slade and an Orient side on a run of five wins in succession so a Cup upset will be difficult at best.

Harrogate Town v Hastings United

One of only four English venues for the Eurovision Song Contest and a town famous for its 1066 battle face off in an all non-league affair.

With a place in the third round up for grabs and potential money spinning tie with a Premier League outfit this fixture should be an intriguing FA Cup battle. On paper Harrogate Town are the favourites considering they play further up the football pyramid then their Sussex opponents but Town gaffer Simon Weaver insists they should just focus on ‘enjoying’ the tie.

Preston North End v Gillingham

Two time FA Cup winners Preston welcome League Two side Gillingham to Deepdale in what poses to be an interesting match-up.

Martin Allen’s Gills are currently top of League Two and having a brilliant season so will feel confident despite Preston’s prestige and elevated league status. Preston sit 11th in League One but come into the game on the back of three matches without victory so an upset could be on the cards in this tie.

Crawley Town v Chelmsford City

In 2002-03 these two finished within one position of each other in the Southern League Premier Division as the bread for a Havant & Waterlooville sandwich. A year later and Crawley won the league as Chelmsford were demoted to the Isthmian League as part of the non-league shake-up. Fast forward to 2012 and Crawley are in League One fighting for a play-off place.

Chelmsford have goal machine Jamie Slabber in their ranks and defeated Essex rivals Colchester United to make it here. Two goal hero on that day Donovan Simmonds forms a lethal partnership with Slabber and The Red Devils will have to be wary of that threat if they want a repeat of their Old Trafford foray last season.

Will you be taking in the FA Cup action this weekend?

image: © flawka

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