Today, in a 17.30 kick-off, Crystal Palace will host League Two side Grimsby Town in the Emirates FA Cup Third Round as the Mariners look to record a cup upset with the two sides sitting 67 places apart in the English footballing pyramid.
Grimsby have won four of their past five matches and currently sit 13th in the fourth tier of English football following recent consolidation of their status as a League Two club having been promoted from the National League in 2016.
Their history has been one of turbulence, as the Mariners have played from the fifth to the top tier of English football - only one of four clubs to have done so - though they haven’t played at the top level since 1948.
Founded in 1878 following a meeting at the Wellington Arms pub, 'Grimsby Pelham' as it was then known was first established by local cricketers looking to fill the winter months with sport when cricket couldn’t be played.
Since then, the Mariners have been the first English club to employ a foreign manager - Hungarian Elemér Berkessy - and have also been led by the great Bill Shankly.
To find the last time that Palace have faced Grimsby in the FA Cup, however, you have to look deep into the past as, in 1908, a then non-league Eagles outfit lost 1-0 to second-tier Grimsby.
Positively, Palace haven’t lost an FA Cup game at home to a team from any division below them since losing to Millwall in 1984/85 and have won seven of their past eight home matches with Grimsby.
Perhaps the most memorable of all of these came in 1996, when the Eagles played host to the northern side in a 5-0 league victory at Selhurst Park. Dougie Freedman scored the club’s then fastest ever hat-trick that day, as he bagged three goals within 11 minutes.
Only five years later, and the Eagles would again go on to beat the Lincolnshire side 5-0 at home, with Freedman scoring in that match also.
Though not for the Eagles, another Palace icon playing that day was a certain Danny Butterfield, who would later go on to sign for Palace from Grimsby and play 269 games for the south London club.
During his time in red and blue, Butterfield would score a perfect hat-trick in six minutes and 48 seconds during an FA Cup Fourth Round replay against Wednesday’s opposition Wolverhampton Wanderers. His frenzy of goals that day would knock Freedman’s record off the top-spot for being Palace’s quickest ever hat-trick.
One man who will be looking to keep this fixture a high scoring one, though this time for the visitors, will be Wes Thomas, who has scored four goals from Grimsby’s past five matches.
Palace's typically tight defence will have to keep a close eye on him, though they will be boosted by their ability in the league to mitigate against opposition goals.
Did you know?
Grimsby manager Michael Jolley has a master’s degree from Cambridge University in Economics and first began football coaching when he volunteered with the Crystal Palace Academy in 2004. During his time there, the likes of Victor Moses and John Bostock graduated from the system to the first-team. He has also worked in the New York and London offices of HSBC.
Jolley’s side have tended to pragmatically change their formation over recent games, but typically fall back on a variation of 4-4-2. His is a squad that plays with a high work-rate and Palace can expect to be faced with a relentless, driven team that defend in numbers when needed to, holding the joint-second best defensive record of any club in League Two’s bottom 16.
Crystal Palace trained with a full fit squad this week, though forward Christian Benteke is still not able to play.
Grimsby have been suffering of late with various injuries striking the squad, especially in defence. Centre-backs Danny Collins and Akin Famewo are possibly in contention to play on Saturday, though both have been sidelined lately. Jordan Cook and Charles Vernam are likely to be unavailable for selection.
Summer signing Elliott Whitehouse is also unavailable, while another centre-back, this time Harry Davis, suffered from concussion on Boxing Day and so cannot play until next week.
This match will not be shown live on TV in the United Kingdom, but it will be shown live for fans in the following countries:
- Balkans - Sport Klub
- Bulgaria - NTV Nova
- Czech Republic - ARQ/Digisport
- Slovakia – ARQ/Digisport
- Poland - Eleven
- China - PPTV
- India – Sony
- Korea - ECLAT
- Myanmar - Eleven
- Singapore – Singtel
- Canada – Rogers Sportsnet/Sportsnet World
- USA – ESPN/ESPN+
- South Africa – SuperSport
- Cyprus – TAF Sports
- Malta - Go
- Scandinavia - NENT
Why not see if there is an Official Supporters’ Club meeting near you? Find the closest one here.
As this game is not being shown live in the UK, Palace Audio is the best way of staying up-to-date with Palace’s progress live as it happens away from Selhurst Park. For just £1.49, fans can listen to full commentary of the fixture. Find out more here.
There are still tickets available for Palace fans, and to see how the Eagles get along with their FA Cup opener, you can buy yours now.