F.A. Cup Countdown!

Last updated : 14 February 2002
BBC Sport Online's Paul Fletcher says that Preston's recent cup history
suggests the Division One team have nothing to fear against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
We won the double, FIRST!

Chelsea are justifiably clear favourites to beat Preston on Sunday and book
a place in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup.

They have home advantage, the ability to pass just about any team off the
park and one of the most potent striking forces in the country in Jimmy
Floyd Hasselbaink and Eidur Gudjohnsen.

What is more, Chelsea are all but out of the running in the Premier League
and are unlikely - as is often the case - to underestimate the challenge
of the underdog.

High-profile cup outings

1992: Preston 0-2 Sheff Weds
1999: Preston 2-4 Arsenal
1999: Arsenal 2-1 Preston
2000: Everton 2-0 Preston
But Preston have proved in recent seasons that they are not afraid of pitching
themselves against top-flight opposition and will be determined to do so
again at Stamford Bridge.
It is only three years since Preston - then playing Second Division football
- came close to knocking holders and Premier League champions Arsenal out
of the FA Cup in a classic match at Deepdale.

Despite facing the likes of Patrick Vieira, Emmanuel Petit, Marc Overmars
and Martin Keown, Preston - roared on by the home crowd - stormed to a 2-0
lead thanks to a brace from Kurt Nogan.

Crucially, Arsenal pulled a goal back just before half-time through Luis
Boa Morte and dominated the second half to run out 4-2 winners.

Happy memories

Defender Ryan Kidd - who retired with a neck injury earlier this season
- played against the Gunners and reckons that Boa Morte's goal changed the
course of the game.

"They got a goal a couple of minutes before half-time and we went in at
the break feeling as though we were losing," Kidd told BBC Sport Online.

"At 2-0 we honestly believed we could go on and win but we ran out of steam
a little bit in the second half.

"After the game Arsene Wenger said we played like world beaters and the
game did us a lot of good."

The following season Preston reached the fifth round - and a tie against
Everton at Goodison Park.

Preston created numerous early chances and bossed the game in midfield but
conceded two second-half goals and were again on the losing side.

In between the two FA Cup matches, Preston travelled to Arsenal in the Worthington
Cup and managed an equaliser before eventually going down 2-1.

And Preston - now an established Division One team - will be determined
to give a good account of themselves against Claudio Ranieri's expensively-assembled

Kidd, who will be at Stamford Bridge to watch the game, thinks Preston will
relish the role of underdog - and that the pressure is all on Chelsea.

He said: "When you play against lower division opposition you know they
have nothing to lose.

"It is an awful situation to be in because you are on a hiding to nothing."


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