FA Cup Preview

Friday 4 January 2002

(PITCH INSPECTION AT 10.30am ON SATURDAY - see latest news)

Jean Tigana will have to make a decision on whether to play record signing Steve Marlet up front for the trip to Adams Park. After having played for the Whites in a reserve match, followed by the win against Derby - Tigana could well choose to rest the French hit man.

With Wycombe making every effort to make the Adams Park surface playable, a hard surface might not suit the yet-to-be fully-fit Marlet. Luis Boa Morte and Louis Saha would be ready to deputise.

Zat Knight could well be a strong contender for a starting spot after impressing in the win at Pride Park.

Wycombe have just one injury doubt with central defender Paul McCarthy battling to shake off an ankle injury. However, manager Lawrie Sanchez is hopeful that McCarthy will have recovered after a break over Christmas.


Second Division Wycombe Wanderers were the team that made most headlines in last season's FA Cup, scoring 17 times in ten ties. Victories over Harrow, Millwall, and First Division Grimsby and Wolves landed them a place in the Quarter-finals. A 2-1 win away to Leicester signalled the start of a slippery slide for the Foxes and landed Laurie Sanchez' side a plum semi-final against Liverpool, which they lost 2-1.

Wycombe must emulate that performance if they are to progress this season. Wanderers' 90th tie in the competition proper is a first ever FA Cup meeting with Premiership Fulham.

Fulham, who lost to Manchester United at this stage last season, have only made the Final once - losing to West Ham in the all London affair of 1975. In that year the Cottagers won away in Rounds Three, Four and Five and won the semi-final on a neutral ground.

Before Wednesday's victory at Derby, West Ham were the last team Fulham defeated away. Jean Tigana's team notched a 2-0 victory at Upton Park in the Premiership on 3 November. A week before that Wycombe were held at home by Swindon in the Second Division, but since then they've won all their games at Adams Park.

Long-serving Wycombe players Dave Carroll and Keith Ryan both have cup-winners medals. They were members of the Wycombe side that won the FA Trophy under Martin O'Neill in 1991 and 1993. Defender Jason Cousins also appeared in the 1993 final.

Young Wycombe midfielder Stuart Roberts has previous giant-killing experience. He was part of the Swansea City team that beat West Ham 1-0 in a third round replay in 1999 at The Vetch.

In 1997 Fulham met Wycombe in the first round of the League Cup and ran out narrow 6-5 winners after the second leg was drawn 4-4 at Craven Cottage.