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Spurs Odyssey Preview - FA Cup Rd 3
Spurs v Reading - 05.01.08

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Full Cup History - Spurs v Reading

Season  Rd   H/A  Result  Scorers
1900-01 Q-F   A     1-1   Kirwan 
1900-01 Q-F(R)H     3-0   Brown 2, Copeland
1905-06  2    H     3-2   Bull, Walton, Kyle
1912-13  2    A     0-1   -
1928-29  3    A     0-2   -
Last Five Third Round games

Cardiff 0 Spurs 0 - "People of Tottenham!"
Leicester 3 Spurs 2 - The 40 game season
Spurs 2 Brighton 1 - Keane's late winner
Spurs 3 Crystal Palace 0 - Kanoute hat-trick
Southampton 4 Spurs 0 - Ignominious knock-out.

There is a marvellous piece of FA Cup History that can be associated with this fixture! Spurs have played Reading five times in Cup matches - all of them in the FA Cup. The first meeting was in the historic 1901 run, and the scorer of Spurs goal in the away quarter-final match was left winger John Kirwan. Kirwan played for Spurs between 1899 and 1905, and apparently ran off with the match ball for the 1901 Cup Final, which he kept till his dying day. That was at the great age of 87 in 1959! Spurs won the replay at White Hart Lane 3-0, with two goals from Sandy Brown and one from David Copeland. In those days, the quarter-final was the Third Round, so let Third Round history be repeated, with a 3-0 win this Saturday!

The two teams next met in this competition in the 1905-06 season. Both teams were in the Southern League, where Spurs stayed for just two more seasons, whereas The Royals took till 1920 to enter the Football League proper. Spurs won that came but were knocked out in the next round by Birmingham.

Spurs' remaining Cup history against Reading is inglorious, with the non-league side beating first division Spurs 1-0 in February 1913, and by 2-0 in 1929, by which time both sides were in Division Two. In that season, Reading got the better of Spurs in the league too, with a win and a draw at Christmas time. Spurs did finish above Reading that season though.

In the words of Spurs fan Dave Kitson, he "doesn't give two sh**s" about the FA cup game this week. Whether this is a fair indication of Steve Coppell's intentions for this game, we will not know until the teams are announced. I suspect that both coaches will "use their squads" In Spurs' case, the news is that Teemu Tainio, Paul Stalteri and Pascal Chimbonda are all available for the game, but there is no news of Ledley King's availability as yet. Apparently he was rested from Tuesday night's Villa game due to some inflammation on his knee.

Reading's priority last season, despite being in the top half of the Premier League table, was clearly to consolidate that position. They did reach the fifth round of the cup, beating Burnley and Birmingham along the way, before they drew Manchester United at Old Trafford. In a firm and resolute style, Coppell's "reserves" got a 1-1 at Old Trafford, then lost 3-2 in the replay. United scored three early goals in that replay, but Kitson and Leroy Lita made it a close and respectable scoreline at the end of the game.

The fact is that Reading do have a good strength squad, and whoever represents them this week will give Spurs a tough game, despite Kitson's quote. I'll let my heart rule my prediction this week (as per usual!) and will go for a 3-1 Spurs win.

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