Bristol City out to put record straight in FA Cup
Hope springs eternal among football fans whenever the third round of the FA Cup comes around.
But those Bristol City supporters who plan to make the journey to Blackburn Rovers this Saturday could be excused for being less than enthusiastic about their team's prospects.
To suggest City's recent record in the world's most famous domestic knockout competition is poor, is an understatement.
Since making national headlines by knocking mighty Liverpool out in a dramatic third round replay at Anfield in January 1994, the Robins have under-achieved horribly in the competition.
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There have been occasional exceptions to that depressing rule, notably when City beat Orient, Chesterfield, Kettering, Huddersfield and Kingstonian before bowing out at Leicester in the fifth round in the 2000/01 campaign.
Otherwise, they have made it to the fourth round just twice in 18 seasons, falling to Everton in 1995 and losing in a penalty shoot-out at the Riverside after taking Premier League Middlesbrough to a replay in 2007.
Since that brave defeat on Teeside, the Robins have failed to win a single tie in seven attempts, falling to Middlesbrough, Portsmouth, Cardiff, Sheffield Wednesday and Crawley.
No wonder the nation's bookmakers make the Robins rank 4/1 outsiders to oust a Blackburn side that has rediscovered the art of winning in recent weeks.
Given the disparity between the two teams in the Championship and City's failure to keep a clean sheet in 26 matches dating back to April, it is difficult to see how Derek Mcinnes' side can progress to the fourth round.
Had their desperate record not cost the club so much in terms of lost revenue down the years, it would almost certainly be the subject of gallows humour.
With City now £41m in debt, there has seldom been a better time to embark upon a Cup run.
Blackburn will have ideas of their own, but for those City fans who still believe, Paddy Power lay the Robins at 14/1 to complete a 2-1 away win – not bad odds considering Rovers have lost five times at home this season.