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Swansea City vs Gillingham: Gills boss Steve Lovell lands dream tie in FA Cup fourth round

Gillingham’s boss will be delighted with his side’s FA Cup fourth-round draw. But there probably aren’t too many fans who will agree with him

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Gills boss Steve Lovell (Kent Pro Images)

Steve Lovell got a belated Christmas present when he saw his side drawn against his hometown club in the fourth round of the FA Cup.

This weekend Lovell told the press he’d love to face Swansea in the fourth round, and the footballing gods have answered his prayers.

But the Swansea-born Gillingham manager might struggle to find too many of his side’s fans who were dancing around their living rooms at the news.

Gillingham had successfully put out another Welsh side, Premier League Cardiff City, in the previous round thanks to Elliott List’s 81st-minute strike at Priestfield. And after the game hopes were high that the Gills might be able to land one of the Premier League’s real big fish.

But those hopes were extinguished immediately, with Swansea and Gillingham drawn together in the very first tie to come out of the velvet bag.

The Swans’ patchy home form (five wins, five defeats, three draws in the Championship so far this season) will give Gills fans cause for optimism, but a tough away trip to Wales to face a Championship side is undoubtedly going to be a tough test.

Christopher Elkins from Bristol, United Kingdom [<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0">CC BY 2.0</a>], <a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Liberty_Stadium_interior_-_3.jpg">via Wikimedia Commons</a>

Christopher Elkins from Bristol, United Kingdom [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The possible marketing of the Gills as ‘Dragon Slayers’ looking to knock out their second Welsh club in successive rounds, plus Lovell’s hometown connection with the Swans, might persuade one of the TV rights gurus at the BBC or BT Sport to consider selecting the game as one of the live matches.

But in truth, other games drawn from the hat look more likely to take precedence.

The obvious candidate – so much so it doesn’t even warrant discussion – is Arsenal vs Manchester United. Rightly or wrongly, that’s a guaranteed TV game.

Manchester City’s tie with fellow Premier League side Burnley is likely to get picked, too, even though the game is basically a run-of-the-mill Premier League match, but almost certainly with weaker lineups.

Ronnie Macdonald [<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0">CC BY 2.0</a>], <a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Emirates_Stadium_behind_the_goal.jpg">via Wikimedia Commons</a>

Ronnie Macdonald [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

More interesting TV tie options include Middlesbrough vs Newport, with former Gills boss Michael Flynn taking his side up to Teeside for a tough away assignment, and Wimbledon vs West Ham.

It would be lovely to think the Gills might get a shot at a TV game – I’m sure Gillingham chairman Paul Scally is crossing his fingers for that very outcome, too.

But it’s likely Gills fans will have to either endure the long trip to Wales or make do with BBC Radio Kent’s matchday commentary instead.

FA Cup Fourth Round draw in full

Swansea City vs Gillingham
AFC Wimbledon vs West Ham United
Shrewsbury Town or Stoke City vs Wolverhampton Wanderers
Millwall vs Everton
Brighton & Hove Albion vs West Bromwich Albion
Bristol City vs Bolton Wanderers
Accrington Stanley vs Derby County or Southampton
Doncaster Rovers vs Oldham Athletic
Chelsea vs Sheffield Wednesday or Luton Town
Newcastle United or Blackburn Rovers vs Watford
Middlesbrough vs Newport County
Manchester City vs Burnley
Barnet vs Brentford
Portsmouth vs Queens Park Rangers
Arsenal vs Manchester United
Crystal Palace vs Tottenham Hotspur