The FA Trophy returns this weekend as the competition reaches its fifth round with just 16 teams left with a chance of a trip to Wembley this May. Here’s your preview of the key games and match odds courtesy of Betfred.
By Steven Oldham
FA Trophy draw serves up mouth-watering ties
The draw for this stage produced some heavyweight clashes, with four of the National League’s promotion chasers drawn against each other. FC Halifax Town must get past Notts County if they want to repeat their Trophy win in 2016. Boreham Wood, fresh from conquering Championship side Bournemouth in the FA Cup, travel to Wrexham.
Several clubs are making history just by reaching this stage - Tonbridge Angels, Morpeth Town, Needham Market and Cheshunt have all made the last 16 for the first time.
FC Halifax Town vs Notts County
Pete Wild’s Halifax side head into this game having returned to winning ways last weekend against Dagenham & Redbridge.
Back-to-back defeats previously have seen The Shaymen lose their place at the top of the league, although they hold a game in hand on league leaders Stockport County.
Notts County picked up a first win in four with a thumping 6-1 win over Barnet in midweek. The Magpies made the semi finals last season, being knocked out by eventual winners Hornchurch on a penalty shootout.
Matty Warburton’s last minute winner sealed the points for Halifax the last time the sides met in October.
This game is subject to an 8:30am pitch inspection on Saturday due to the poor weather forecast.
Match odds: Home 11/8, Draw 11/5, Away 13/8
Wrexham vs Boreham Wood
Another all-National League clash sees Wrexham host Boreham Wood.
The Red Dragons have pedigree in this competition, winning it in 2013 and finishing as runners up two years later.
Phil Parkinson’s side are among the promotion contenders this season and have won six of their last ten matches.
Wood are unbeaten since October and already have a blockbuster trip to Everton in the FA Cup to look forward to. Their only two defeats to date have both come on the road.
The two sides are yet to meet this season.
Match odds: Home 8/11, Draw 5/2, Away 3/1
Dagenham & Redbridge vs Spennymoor Town
The Daggers head into this game in a rough patch of form, with just one win in five. Their lightning start to the season has slowed somewhat, finding themselves in tenth place in the league, four points adrift of the playoffs.
The 1997 runners up knocked out Southend United in the last round to keep their dreams of a first Trophy win alive.
Spennymoor find themselves in unfamiliar territory in the National League North, midtable after spending the last few seasons competing at the sharp end.
Joint managers Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley haven’t experienced the new manager bounce, with one league win since taking over in December. The pair have led the club to within one round of their best ever performance, a run to the quarter finals in 2018.
Match odds: Home 4/11, Draw 10/3, Away 11/2
York City vs Morpeth Town
A quirk of the draw has brought these sides together for the second time in a season, after meeting in the FA Cup’s fourth qualifying round.
It took two attempts to decide a winner in that competition, with York eventually progressing after a 3-1 win in the replay.
The National League North side have won this competition twice and come into this game having won back-to-back league games.
Morpeth Town - the last remaining Northern Premier League side - also have a spring in their step having beat local rivals South Shields in midweek.
The Highwaymen were unbeaten since October before last Saturday’s loss to relegation-threatened Nantwich Town.
Match odds: Home 1/2, Draw 3/1, Away 9/2
All the other FA Trophy action
Tonbridge Angels will look to achieve another surprise result against Step 1 Bromley. The National League South side have already knocked out Torquay United and King’s Lynn Town this year. (H: 3/1, D: 5/2, A: 8/11)
Stockport County will look to avoid a potential banana skin as they host Isthmian Premier side Cheshunt at Edgeley Park. The visitors picked up a first win in six at the weekend. (H: 2/9, D: 4/1, A: 9/1)
Stourbridge host Solihull Moors having already knocked out three teams from higher divisions. Moors are unbeaten in four and haven’t conceded a goal in this time. (H: 4/1, D: 3/1, A: 8/15)=
Needham Market have home advantage as they host National League South promotion contenders Dartford. Kevin Horlock’s side are unbeaten in four heading into Saturday’s game. (H: 11/5, D: 12/5, A: Evens)
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