Frank Lampard will take charge of Everton for the first time when Brentford visit Goodison Park in the FA Cup fourth round this weekend while West Ham face a tricky tie against non-league Kidderminster.
Manchester United kick-off the round at home to Middlesbrough on Friday and Premier League leaders Manchester City face free-scoring Fulham, top of the Championship, the following day.
AFP Sport takes a look at some of the talking points ahead of the weekend’s action.
‘No illusions’ for Everton’s Lampard
Keen to restore his reputation after the frustrating end to his time as Chelsea manager, Lampard is ready for the challenge of lifting the gloom at Everton.
Lampard is back in management just over a year after his sacking by Chelsea, but the former England star arrives at Goodison Park with his new club in turmoil after Rafael Benitez’s disastrous reign.
Everton are just four points above the Premier League relegation zone, with their only win in their past six games coming in extra-time at second-tier Hull in the FA Cup.
Furious fans have protested against Everton majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri for his perceived role in the club’s decline.
Lampard needs a quick start in what is shaping up to be the acid test of his managerial skills after a mixed 18-month spell at Chelsea.
“Of course we know we’re in a position the club doesn’t want to be in,” Lampard said ahead of his first game on Saturday.
“I’m under no illusions but I’ve got a lot of belief in the squad.
“Nobody would be happy with the run we’ve been on in terms of points but I have to bring an element of calm to the players.”
Kidderminster eye West Ham shock
Kidderminster manager Russ Penn has challenged his non-league side to inflict fresh FA Cup anguish on West Ham boss David Moyes and the Premier League club’s owners.
Moyes will be well aware West Ham cannot afford to underestimate Kidderminster after he was dumped out of the competition by them as a Preston player in 1994.
That victory was part of Kidderminster’s best FA Cup run — to the fifth round — a memorable campaign that also featured a win against Birmingham, then owned by David Gold and David Sullivan, the current co-owners of West Ham.
“I knew about the David Moyes link, but I completely forgot about Gold and Sullivan. This is what I mean, it is history,” Penn said.
“We have to believe history can be made one day, so let’s hope it could be Saturday.”
Kidderminster, from the sixth-tier National League North, beat Championship side Reading to set up their date with West Ham, who are fifth in the Premier League.
Moyes is likely to rotate his team at Aggborough as the Hammers focus on chasing Champions League qualification, but Penn would prefer to face their star men.
“You would rather get the best of the best,” Penn said. “This is our cup final.”
Man City face fellow leaders Fulham
The leaders of the top two divisions meet at the Etihad Stadium as Manchester City face one of the few sides in England capable of dishing out the kind of thrashings Pep Guardiola’s men have made their speciality.
In their six Championship and FA Cup matches in 2022, Fulham have scored 24 goals, including a 7-0 rout of Reading and six-goal sprees against Bristol City and Birmingham.
Boasting the goalscoring riches of Aleksandar Mitrovic, Harry Wilson and Fabio Carvalho, Marco Silva’s side have already hit 74 goals in the second tier this season.
City, nine points clear at the top of the Premier League, have plenty of firepower themselves.
The champions, unbeaten in their past nine games in all competitions, have crushed Leeds 7-0 this season, also racking up three six-goal hauls and scoring five three times.
FA Cup fourth round fixtures:
Manchester United v Middlesbrough (2000 GMT)
Saturday (1500 unless stated)
Chelsea v Plymouth (1230), Kidderminster v West Ham (1230), Crystal Palace v Hartlepool, Everton v Brentford, Huddersfield v Barnsley, Manchester City v Fulham, Peterborough v QPR, Southampton v Coventry, Stoke v Wigan, Wolves v Norwich, Cambridge v Luton (1730), Tottenham v Brighton (2000)
Liverpool v Cardiff (1200), Nottingham Forest v Leicester (1600), Bournemouth v Boreham Wood (1830)