Blackburn v Newcastle in the FA Cup reply in a week and a half’s time.
The match is provisionally set to take place on Tuesday 15 January, the midweek before Newcastle United meet Cardiff at home on Saturday 19 January, in a crucial Premier League relegation clash.
However, Rafa Benitez could have even less preparation time for that key Cardiff match, as it appears a toss of the coin whether the game will be moved to Wednesday 16 January
After Saturday, it looked all but guaranteed that Blackburn v Newcastle will be chosen for Live TV coverage as one of the selected replays, with these TV games to be shown on the Tuesday (15th) and Wednesday (16th) by BBC and BT Sport.
The opening 23 FA Cup third round games saw Tottenham winning 7-0 at Tranmere on Friday night, then another 22 games played on Saturday.
This threw up remarkably few third round replays, only four from the 23 ties:
Luton v Sheff Wed
Stoke v Shrewsbury
Southampton v Derby
Blackburn v Newcastle
With the Blackburn v Newcastle replay the only one at that point with lower league opposition at home to Premier League, it looked like the number one choice for the TV companies, with Southampton v Derby looking next best. As has been well documented, showing Newcastle United gets bigger TV audiences than most, so yet another reason why the game would be chosen, plus of course the very real likelihood of Newcastle yet again knocked out by a lower ranked club..
The nine matches played on Sunday have surely rubber stamped that Blackburn v Newcastle will be chosen:
Fulham 1 Oldham 2
Man City 7 Rotherham 0
Millwall 2 Hull 1
Preston 1 Doncaster 3
QPR 2 Leeds 1
Sheff Utd 0 Barnet 1
Woking 0 Watford 2
Newport 2 Leicester 1
So remarkably, that now means only four FA Cup third round replays from 31 matches played,
The 32nd and last third round tie kicks off at 7.45pm with Wolves v Liverpool.
Liverpool will especially be looking to ensure there is no extra game (reply) needed – but even if there is, Newcastle’s game will surely be the next choice for the TV companies.
The Live TV replays should be announced within the next 24 hours, once Wolves have taken on Liverpool.
With a number of Live TV slots to be filled, Mike Ashley is set to pick up a cash bonus from TV.
Newcastle and Blackburn received £50,000 extra each after Saturday’s game was chosen for overseas TV, whilst those selected for UK broadcast saw clubs receive £150,000 each.
So presumably those figures stand for replays as well, with Blackburn and Newcastle/Ashley set to bank another £150,000 each (on top of their share of gate receipts and cash, plus more on top if progressing another round) from Live TV.