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Joe Jones
Joe Jones

Joe Jones: I would rather Notts County face Swansea City than Wolverhampton Wanderers in FA Cup fourth round

After the anti-climax of Notts County drawing Brentford away in the third round of the FA Cup, it was superb to see the Magpies overcome the Bees and go in the hat again for round four.

I was at Meadow Lane on Monday night alongside the 200 or so fellow Notts fans to see the draw made and, when ball number 13 was drawn, the tension was palpable - would the following few seconds bring euphoria or disappointment?

As it was, the drawing of Swansea City or Wolverhampton Wanderers was cheered - although it wasn't a Premier League giant, I agree with Alan Hardy in thinking it was the "next best thing". Swansea are currently a top-flight side (whether that will still be the case next season remains to be seen) while Wolves are a Premier League side in waiting.

After the initial satisfaction of the draw came the next question: "Can Notts County overcome their opponents and enter the hat for round five?"

Myself, I would rather take on Swansea than Wolves. As we saw over the weekend, a number teams which are fighting for Premier League survival were either taken to a replay (Swansea, West Ham, Bournemouth) or knocked out altogether (Stoke), which shows that sides which have top-flight survival on their mind may not focus on the cups as much.

As well as fighting relegation, Swansea are also in a really poor run of form - their win over Watford was pretty impressive, granted, but they were second best for most of the game before striking twice late on in the game to steal all three points.

In total, Swansea have won just four games all season and their tally of 13 goals scored in 22 league games is woeful to say the least.

Carlos Carvalhal was also a very peculiar choice of manager, having been sacked by a side in the league below before getting the Swans gig, and it remains to be seen whether he will be a Sam Allardyce /  Roy Hodgson, or an Alan Pardew.

In comparison, Wolves are ripping the Championship apart, boasting a 12-point lead over second-placed Derby County and with just three league defeats all season, plus a tally of 50 goals scored and just 20 conceded.

The really frightening thing about Wolves is how their rich owners, Fosun International, and their links to super agent Jorge Mendes have ensured the procurement of some of the best young players in world football, who have turned down some of the biggest clubs in the world to join Molineux.

Take for example Diogo Jota, on loan from Spanish giants Atletico Madrid, or Ruben Neves, the most expensive signing in second-tier history from former Champions League winners Porto.

And then there is Rafa Mir, a player that was being courted by Real Madrid - yes, Real Madrid - but ended up leaving Valencia for Wolves.

The way Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo is going about assembling his team, I personally wouldn't think it surprising if Wolves get promoted this season and then finish in the top 10 of the Premier League next year.

In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if Swansea lose their replay on January 17 - even though it's at the Liberty Stadium, I can imagine their fans getting disgruntled if Wolves nick an early goal, or go at the break level at half time, which could boost the visitors.

In terms of who I'd like to see Notts get next round, I think Swansea would actually be an easier proposition than Wolves. A team low on morale and form whose main focus is Premier League survival, or a swashbuckling team on great form boasting some amazing players?

Whichever side wins their third-round replay, it'll be good for Notts to host Meadow Lane and, given the magic of the FA Cup (and of Hardy's New Era), anything can happen in round four!

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