The Potters are tipped to bounce back to winning ways against Palace, in one of a host of intriguing FA Cup third-round replays on Tuesday
|By PAUL GOUGH
Stoke City are strongly fancied to bounce back from their English Premier League nightmare at the hands of Chelsea when they host Championship high-flyers Crystal Palace in the pick of the third-round FA Cup replays on Tuesday [Wednesday morning Australian time].
The Potters are sitting in 10th spot in the league and looking at their best finish in the top division of English football since claiming fifth in 1974-75.
However, they are coming off a rare poor home display on the weekend, when they lost 4-0 to Chelsea on what was a nightmare day for striker Jon Walters, who scored two own-goals and missed a penalty during the defeat.
But Stoke have plenty of motivation against Palace, who sit fourth in the Championship, knowing a win will set up a fourth-round home tie against reigning champions Manchester City.
It was City that beat Stoke 1-0 in the 2011 FA Cup Final, which was the first time the Potters had ever made it to the knockout competition decider.
Stoke are the $1.66 favourites with Betfair and even shorter at $1.61 with sportsbet.com.au to win Tuesday's replay against Palace within the 90 minutes of regulation time, with the visitors priced at $5.50 at sportsbet.com.au and $6 with Betfair.
However Palace - with Socceroos star Mile Jedinak in their ranks - will be no pushovers, having held Stoke to a 0-0 draw in the first game. Another draw in the replay, which would then result in extra time being played, is priced at $4 with Betfair.
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But while Stoke should be able to see off Palace, one top-flight club in danger of making an embarrassing exit are perennial relegation candidates Wigan.
Wigan could only draw 1-1 at home to League One Bournemouth in their initial tie and now have to make the long trip to the south coast without striker Arouna Kone, who is away on Africa Cup of Nations duty with Ivory Coast.
Elsewhere, much-improved Premier League outfit Sunderland, at $1.66 at Betfair, should have few worries at home to Championship strugglers Bolton at $6.20, while West Brom at $1.85 should win at home against bottom-placed QPR at $4.90.
The other Premier League side that may struggle to reach the fourth round on Tuesday night are Mark Schwarzer's Fulham, who look shaky $2.50 favourites at Betfair away to Championship side Blackpool at $3.10.
The pick of the other replays is the battle between Championship pair Birmingham City and Leeds United.
The winner will host Tottenham in an enticing fourth-round tie, with home side Birmingham the favourites at $2.56 with Betfair against Leeds at $3.
But this is one tie that might go the distance, with the draw at 90 minutes looking great value at $3.50 at Betfair.
* Note prices subject to change