The FA Cup hasn’t been Ipswich Town’s best friend in recent years.

Last season was the exception, to an extent, with the Blues seeing off Bracknell Town, Buxton and Rotherham United before eventually falling to Burnley late on in a fourth-round replay.

However, Kieran McKenna’s men will enter at the third round of the competition this year, doing so for the first time since 2018/19. They’ll be joined by the rest of the Championship, as well as the big boys from the Premier League and sides from League One and below.

Alex Jones takes a look at their potential opponents ahead of today’s draw, which takes place at around 12:55pm on ITV1.

East Anglian Daily Times: The Blues played two Premier League sides in this season's Carabao CupThe Blues played two Premier League sides in this season's Carabao Cup (Image: PA Images)Premier League

Everyone wants a top-six opponent, ideally away from home. A trip to a big stadium to face one of the top teams in the world would be a dream for many sides outside of the top flight – even those who, like Town, are fighting to get in it.

The Blues obviously went to Old Trafford in the League Cup back in 2015, losing 3-0 to Manchester United, but the narrative surrounding McKenna returning to his former club would be mouth-watering to say the least.

He may prefer a chance to play Man City, who haven’t faced Ipswich since the 2002 FA Cup, although Pep Guardiola doesn’t seem to be a fan of rotation at the best of times, which may make for a tough test.

One manager who does, however, is Jurgen Klopp, and a draw against Liverpool would see them face Town for the first time since the 2002 League Cup, although they also faced each other twice in the Premier League that season. The less said about those two games the better.

Chelsea may be an appealing prospect for some given their recent nosedive, but less so for those who travelled to Stamford Bridge for the last meeting between the two sides in the FA Cup in 2011. Perhaps revenge against Arsenal for the League Cup semi-final defeat in the same year would be better.

Of course, there are some new grounds on offer too. Ipswich have never played at Tottenham Hotspur’s new state-of-the-art stadium, nor Brentford’s G-Tech Community Stadium, while our own Stuart Watson would love the chance to cover the Blues away at his beloved Everton before Goodison Park is demolished at the end of the season.

Any Premier League side would be a real test for Ipswich, providing them with a benchmark for the levels that they need to hit if they want to become an established side at the level in the future.

East Anglian Daily Times: Town would fancy their chances in an FA Cup tie against arch-rivals Norwich CityTown would fancy their chances in an FA Cup tie against arch-rivals Norwich City (Image: PA Images)


This one wouldn’t be great. The FA Cup provides a welcome break from league action, and the worst thing is when you’re drawn against a team in your own division who you’re going to face twice regardless.

With that being said, imagine an East Anglian Derby in this season’s FA Cup. It truly would be a ‘London buses’ scenario. You wait four years for one to arrive, then you get two at once!

The two sides have been drawn against each other twice in the history of the competition. The first came in 1962 as a 1-1 draw at Portman Road sent the tie to a replay, where Norwich City snatched a 2-1 win. They then met again in 1982 where the Canaries went through with a 1-0 win.

The match would take place less than a month after their meeting in the league, and with it being a knockout competition, you could only think that the atmosphere surrounding the game would be huge. Even if the odds of it happening are slim, we can dream, right?

There’s not a great deal elsewhere. A home tie against Championship opposition wouldn’t be catastrophic, nor would a local trip to somewhere like QPR or Millwall, but realistically, it’s one that most fans want to avoid.

East Anglian Daily Times: Town won 28 of their 46 games in League One last seasonTown won 28 of their 46 games in League One last season (Image: PA Images)League One

We only just got out of this league, why on earth would we want a League One side? 

Not the most glamorous prospect, but there are a handful of new faces as well as a good chance to progress to the fourth round.

High-flyers Bolton Wanderers and Oxford United are both in the hat, with the former thrashing Harrogate Town 5-1 and the latter easing past Grimsby Town in a 2-0 win. They could provide an interesting test for a rotated Town team, if McKenna decides that's the best option.

Ipswich fans will also have good memories of their last trip to Peterborough United, where they won 3-0. The Posh are also in today's draw after beating Doncaster Rovers. Their local rivals, Cambridge United, are also through after a 4-0 win at home to Fleetwood Town. I wouldn't mind that one!

Reading head to Eastleigh later this afternoon, although McKenna's men have already faced them in the Carabao Cup this season, while Leyton Orient will be hoping to progress away at Chesterfield. The Blues haven't played the O's since 2008, with Town's last trip to Brisbane Road taking place back in 1979. A new ground would be good.

Blackpool were due to face Forest Green Rovers yesterday afternoon, but the match was postponed due to an FA investigation into whether the League Two side fielded an ineligible player in the last round.

East Anglian Daily Times: The League Two promotion race has intensified in the last few weeksThe League Two promotion race has intensified in the last few weeks (Image: PA Images)League Two

Now we're talking. A load of new grounds on offer, or the possibility of a nice home tie.

Just two League Two teams are guaranteed a place in the next round. Gillingham dumped League One side Charlton Athletic out after a 2-0 win at Priestfield, while Sutton United brushed past non-league Horsham after a strange saga involving Barnsley fielding an ineligible player in the first round.

Barrow are out, which is probably a good thing. Heavy-hitters Stockport County and Wrexham are both in action later today, facing Aldershot Town and Yeovil Town respectively.

A Hollywood tie against the Red Dragons, famously owned by actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, would certainly draw national and international attention. The two teams have only ever met in the 1995 FA Cup, where the Welsh side earned a 2-1 win.

East Anglian Daily Times: An FA Cup tie against Chesterfield would pit Town against one of their former managersAn FA Cup tie against Chesterfield would pit Town against one of their former managers (Image: PA)Non-league

Who enjoyed the trip to Bracknell Town last season? Well, unfortunately, they were knocked out by Cambridge in the first round, and there's not a great deal left in terms of non-league sides.

Alfreton Town were due to host Walsall yesterday lunchtime, but the match was postponed three minutes before kick-off due to a frozen pitch, meaning that the National League North side will be in the hat.

Barrow's conquerers, Maidstone United, will also be in the draw, with the National League South side edging past Pete Wild's men in a 2-1 win at home, forcing the away side to controversially offer refunds to the travelling supporters.

National League outfits Eastleigh and Aldeshot, as mentioned, are both in action today. The same can be said of Chesterfield, who would provide a fascinating test for Town. The Spireites are managed by former Ipswich boss Paul Cook and boast a number of ex-League One players including Town academy graduate Armando Dobra.

The big one comes tomorrow, however, as Ramsgate head to League Two side Wimbledon. The lowest ranked side in the competition, the Rams play in Isthmian League South East Division, which is the eighth tier of English football.

It might be a bit difficult to get tickets, although the Southwood Stadium can accomodate up to 3,500 fans, which is much more than Bracknell's Bottom Meadow.

East Anglian Daily Times: Ipswich will be ball 18 in today's FA Cup drawIpswich will be ball 18 in today's FA Cup draw (Image: PA Images)

Ball numbers

1. AFC Bournemouth
2. Arsenal
3. Aston Villa
4. Birmingham City
5. Blackburn Rovers
6. Brentford
7. Brighton & Hove Albion
8. Bristol City
9. Burnley
10. Cardiff City
11. Chelsea
12. Coventry City
13. Crystal Palace
14. Everton
15. Fulham
16. Huddersfield Town
17. Hull City
19. Leeds United
20. Leicester City
21. Liverpool
22. Luton Town
23. Manchester City
24. Manchester United
25. Middlesbrough
26. Millwall
27. Newcastle United
28. Norwich City
29. Nottingham Forest
30. Plymouth Argyle
31. Preston North End
32. Queens Park Rangers
33. Rotherham United
34. Sheffield United
35. Sheffield Wednesday
36. Southampton
37. Stoke City
38. Sunderland
39. Swansea City
40. Tottenham Hotspur
41. Watford
42. West Bromwich Albion
43. West Ham United
44. Wolverhampton Wanderers
45. Maidstone United
46. Morecambe
47. Shrewsbury Town
48. Chesterfield or Leyton Orient
49. Aldershot Town or Stockport County
50. Alfreton Town or Walsall
51. Blackpool or Forest green Rovers
52. Cambridge United
53. Bolton Wanderers
54. Wrexham or Yeovil Town
55. Crewe Alexandra or Bristol Rovers
56. Peterborough United
57. Eastleigh or Reading
58. Gillingham
59. Stevenage or Port Vale
60. Newport County or Barnet
61. Oxford United
62. Wigan Athletic
63. Sutton United
64. AFC Wimbledon or Ramsgate