Crawley Town v Leeds United preview: Can Reds pull off an FA Cup shock?

Crawley Town welcome Premier League side Leeds United to the People’s Pension Stadium on Sunday in the third round of the FA Cup.

The Reds have earned themselves the tie with the Premier League side, following a 6-5 win at Torquay and a 2-1 win at AFC Wimbledon.

The Premier League side come to Crawley knowing they have been on the end of a few shock results in the FA Cup, with defeats to Newport County, Sutton United and Rochdale in the past seven years.

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Helder Costa

They’ll be looking to not be on the end of another shock at the People’s Pension Stadium. Marcelo Bielsa will most likely rotate the Leeds squad coming into the game and utilise some of the players that haven’t had as much game time in the Premier League.

This can still be an incredibly talented Leeds team as they have some quality players, such as Pablo Hernandez and Helder Costa that haven’t had lots of game time in the Premier League that’ll be looking to stake a place in the Premier League starting eleven.

Leeds have caught the eye of many football fans this season with their entertaining style of play, with plenty of goals flying in at both ends of the pitch. Leeds have one of the best goal returns in the Premier League, scoring 30, but also have one of the worst defences in the Premier League, conceding 33.

They make for great entertainment to watch and are going well in the Premier League, sitting in mid-table, despite being a newly promoted side. Patrick Bamford has been key to their season so far, with the striker notching 10 Premier League goals. If he’s in the side, it’ll likely be a strong Leeds side fielded, as they look to avoid a shock defeat.

Crawley will come into the game with no pressure on them and no expectations of pulling off a victory. However, as we saw at the People’s Pension Stadium last season, they are capable of beating Premier League sides when they beat Norwich 1-0. They’ll be looking to replicate this and hope Leeds come into the game complacent.

The Reds are in the perfect form to feel confident, as they are unbeaten since the FA Cup second round tie with AFC Wimbledon and have flown up into the play-off places in League Two.

John Yems’ side have played some tremendous football in recent weeks, with wins against Bolton and Forest Green showing this. As long as Crawley remain competitive and don’t get battered by Leeds, they’ll be able to come out the cup tie with their heads high, no matter what the result is.

It’s a chance for players to get their name recognised and potentially fuel a big move, with the January transfer window being open. All eyes will be on the People’s Pension Stadium on Sunday at 13:30 as the BBC One cameras will be there to see if Crawley can shock Premier League opposition once again.