David Moyes’ West Ham United will enter the Third Round of the 2017/2018 FA Cup, along with 19 other Premier League teams, on the first weekend of January, making the trip to face Paul Hurst’s League One outfit Shrewsbury Town in Football’s oldest Competition.
The hosts are fresh from a slim New Years’ Day victory over Oldham Athletic in England’s Third Division, whereas, the Hammers have played twice since then, defeating West Bromwich Albion and drawing away at Tottenham Hotspur, the visitors are the firm favourites, although the magic of this Tournament always leaves the door open for a shock or two.
The tie will be played out tomorrow afternoon (Sunday 7 January 2017) with a kick-off time of 2 PM and live and free Television Coverage being broadcasted by the BBC as part of Match of the Day Live in the UK.
However, if you don’t have access to a TV on Sunday, you can tune into love Radio commentary on both BBC Radio 5 Live an TalkSport, alternatively, if you head over to @MooreThanAClub on Twitter, you can be sure to find live build-up, updates, and reaction from Shropshire.
The visit if the East Londoners will be held at Shrewsbury’s relatively new and modern home Stadium of the New Meadow which the club moved to from Gay Meadow in 2007.
Montgomery Waters Meadow, it’s Sponsored name, was completed in the same year in which the Shrews occupied it and has a capacity of just over 9,800 as well as holding a UEFA Category 4 Stadium accolade.
The Ground has also hosted England Women matches and was included in England’s bid to play host to the 2013 European U21 Championship, although the attempt wasn’t successful.
The memorable clash will also be the first time that the Irons have donned the neat arena, the likes of fellow Top-Flight teams Chelsea and Manchester United have both journeyed there in previous seasons.
Salop Boss Hurst will have Max Lowe, a young defender just signed on loan from Derby County, available to him, but not fellow back four member Junior Brown who is injured.
Loanee Red Devils goalkeeper Dean Henderson has not been given permission by his parent club to feature at all, meaning that second-choice shot-stopper Craig MacGillivray will step up to the plate.
Meanwhile, Irons Manager Moyes is expected to name a much-weakened Xl from the one that drew at Wembley on Thursday in the midst of an injury crisis, with several of his first-team stars side-lined regardless of selection.
This will open the door for young talents such as the trio of defensive prodigy Reece Oxford, Norway winger Martin Samuelsen and Spanish striker Antonio Martinez, while Joe Hart is expected to start against the club where it all began for him.
The teams of Shrewsbury Town and West Ham United have met only four times previously in Competition, facing off with each other tomorrow for the first time in 36 years.
The overall record makes for even viewing for any supporter of either club as both the Irons and Town have recorded two victories, the hosts doing the double over the visitors in the 1979/1980 Division Two campaign and the away side achieving the feat a season after.
You will have to go back all the way to 1981 for the last encounter between the pair, who have never faced off outside of the Championship, a 0-2 win for the Claret & Blue Army at the Meadow coming courtesy of goals from Alan Devonshire and David Cross.
In the first of those two seasons, West Ham won the FA Cup and the second they triumphed with the Second Tier Title, the man in charge in East London, Moyes, made almost 100 appearances in Shropshire between 1987 and 1990.
Shrewsbury Town Football Club was formed in 1886 and has kept its original name from the beginning of its existence, enduring an up and down, rocky ride in the world of Football.
The Blues, also nicknamed Salop, the Shrews and the Town, have never lifted an FA Cup, English League Cup or FA Trophy, despite reaching the Quarter-Finals of the first twice and the Semis of the second once.
Ever since the year of 1950, Shrewsbury have remained in the Football League, baaing one season in the Conference, National League, four years after the turn of the century, and were most recently in the Championship in the 1980s.
Nowadays, under bright young Manager Paul Hurst, Town have enjoyed an excellent start to the 2017/2018 season, remaining unbeaten till the end of October, they sit second in the Third Tier Standings, two points behind Wigan Athletic.
Who Is Officiating?
One of the more junior Select Group Referees in the form of Paul Tierney will be the man in the middle in Shropshire, Assisting him will be Steve Child and Mark Scholes, while fellow Premier league Referee Bobby Madley is Fourth Official.
So, with the New Meadow seen well and truly set for a magical afternoon of Football’s oldest Competition, will the hosts pull off as miraculous giant-killing to remember?
Or can Moyes emerge victorious in is first FA Cup outing since taking over from Slaven Bilic and advance into Round Four? Think you know? Head over to @MooreThanAClub on Twitter to cast your last-minute score predictions and join the pre-match discussion.