The FA Cup has often been a salvation for the smaller clubs, desperately in need of a cash windfall. With a proud history, Crystal Palace and Notts County might not have been considered to be minnows, but times have changed and both would now welcome the benefits that the competition offers. The two clubs go into fourth round replays tonight against Premier League opposition with their futures uncertain.
The prestige of beating Wolves and Wigan respectively would be far outweighed by the money that a fifth round tie would produce. County, who could earn a trip to Fulham, are hoping a new buyer will rescue them from administration. Palace were not so fortunate with their finances. They were in the Premier League when it was first founded in 1992, but, with a 10-point penalty for going into administration, they now face a fight to save their Championship status.
To add to their troubles, they have also lost their best player, striker Victor Moses, to Wigan for £2.5 million (Dh15m). But defiant and spirited, they beat Peterborough 2-0 on Saturday and, with a home tie against Aston Villa the reward, manager Neil Warnock will relish the challenge against Wolves. League Two side County, the world's oldest professional club, will need a similar spirit at Wigan. Dave Kevan, the caretaker manager, said: "We've got a group of players here that are confident in their ability. They go out and play together and work hard for each other and get the job done."
A cup-tied Moses, 19, will not be able to add some much-needed spark to the Wigan attack, which is something they will need after the difficult 2-2 draw in the first game. But manager Roberto Martinez is convinced he has signed a "special talent". "He has been a big hit for Crystal Palace, and now he has the chance to grow and mature in the Premier League."