Prestons Kurt Nogan (left) celebrates his sides 2nd goal during their FA Cup 3rd round match against holders Arsenal at Preston's Deepdale ground this evening (Monday). Photo by Owen Humphreys/PA *EDI*  preston - arsenal
Prestons Kurt Nogan (left) celebrates his sides 2nd goal during their FA Cup 3rd round match against holders Arsenal at Preston's Deepdale ground this evening (Monday). Photo by Owen Humphreys/PA *EDI* preston - arsenal
Have your say

Sorry for going all Barbara Cartland but I yearn for a spot of romance.

Don’t get me wrong, I won’t be doing the knight in shining armour act and delivering flowers and chocolates to Mrs Seddon.

The romance I’m after is of the FA Cup variety. Could this be the season that Preston produce a cup shock?

I’ve seen the occasional surprise result down the years but not a holds-barred giantkilling act, big enough to be splashed across the back pages of the national papers.

During Thursday morning’s pre-match press conference, Simon Grayson spoke about the FA Cup win over Manchester United which he oversaw as Leeds manager.

Jermaine Beckford was the Leeds match winner at Old Trafford that day.

Four years on, both are at Deepdale – an omen or do I clutch at straws?

But before we talk of cup shocks going forward, first of all North End must avoid one against Shrewsbury.

A potential banana skin was avoided with relative ease at Havant and Waterlooville last month, now they must tread with care in the second round.

My experience of PNE in the FA Cup goes back to the late 1970s, to be exact the first few weeks of 1979.

They beat top-flight Derby County 3-0 at Deepdale on a Tuesday night – the only game which the club played that freezing cold January.

Southampton at home was the reward, more than 20,000 inside the ground on another midweek evening to see a 1-0 defeat with Alan Ball scoring the Saints’ winner.

I was only at primary school then and too young to go to night matches but the two games caught my imagination both from what my dad told me and through the pages of the Evening Post.

A year after, Ipswich from the old First Division visited in the third round.

Bobby Robson’s side won 3-0, the class of Paul Mariner, Eric Gates and Alan Brazil clear to see. It was an exit at the third round hurdle once again the following campaign, Bristol Rovers – clad in green and black quarters – racing into a 4-0 half-time lead.

Back came Preston in the second half to close the gap to 4-3 but they could not quite manage an equaliser.

The rest of the 1980s threw up the odd moment of FA Cup joy and some disasters too.

Exits at the hands of Telford (4-1) and Walsall (7-3) but also the 1986/87 run which included getting the better of Chorley after a replay, Ronnie Hildersley’s winner at Middlesbrough then a 2-0 loss to Newcastle with 5,500 North Enders following John McGrath’s side to Tyneside.

Then of course there was the 1989 defeat at Whitley Bay, shown on Match of the Day.

In 1992, PNE lost 2-0 to Sheffield Wednesday but had it not been for a superb display from Owls keeper Chris Woods, Preston would have got at least a replay.

In more recent times there have been visits from Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea.

Romance was in the air for the first half against Arsenal in 1999 as a Kurt Nogan double put North End into a 2-0 lead, only for the Gunners to hit back to win 4-2.

Liverpool and Chelsea won here, both 2-0, in 2009 and 2010, with a shock never really on the cards in either.

There was the 4-1 win for PNE at Derby in 2008, Championship beating lowly Premier League.

Back to the present day and how I would love to see one of the big boys come a cropper at North End’s hands.

A genuine shock, the plucky lads from Deepdale downing the Premier League millionaires.

Looking back through the history of the last three or four decades, it is certainly overdue.

As was touched upon earlier in the column, a way must be found past Shrewsbury first before any thoughts turn to the third round draw and the prospect of a high-profile game on January 3.

The Shrews make the trip from Shropshire in decent form to say the least, just two defeats in 11.

Although one of those losses was to Exeter a fortnight ago, the other came to Chelsea in the Capital One Cup – hardly a disgrace.

What will make a nice change is being able to watch a game at Deepdale.

It has been almost 3,000 miles clocked-up by road, train and plane over the last couple of months – Kent, London, Greater Manchester, Wiltshire, Hampshire, Bristol and Somerset all visited.

Until the visit to Peterborough in a fortnight’s time, the round-England tour takes a welcome break.

Hopefully Deepdale can provide some home comforts in the next two games.