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Football: Third-round glory has Barrow boys dreaming; BARROW v BRENTFORD FA CUP SECOND ROUND SETANTA SPORTS 1 7.45pm.

Byline: By Mark Langdon

THE last time the town of Barrow had this much FA Cup fever the plucky non-leaguers lost 1-0 to Oldham in 2001, but this time they sense a Football League scalp when Brentford visit Holker Street for tonight's second-round tie.

Barrow are hoping to get at least 3,000 supporters through the turnstiles and this game may have been on the players' minds when they lost 1-0 at financiallycrippledWeymouth on Saturday.

That result left Barrow in 19th place in the Blue Square Premier, and they have found life tough since promotion last season.

It did not look that way at the start of the campaign when they opened up with three wins out of four, but it has been downhill ever since for joint-managers Dave Bayliss and Darren Sheridan.

No clean sheets in five league games points to where the problems are for Bayliss and Sheridan, although interestingly Barrow are yet to concede a goal in three FA Cup fixtures this term.

Tamworth and Eastbourne have been knocked out en route to the second round but now life gets much tougher for Barrow, who are 12-1 with Skybet to be the furthest progressing non-league side, when Brentford make the long trip north to fight out for a potentially lucrative third-round showdown with one of the big boys.

The Bees are sixth in League Two, just six points inferior to unbeaten leaders Wycombe, and they have overcome a minor blip in October to win twice since (Port Vale and Luton) as well as drawing 1-1 with Darlington.

Defensively, Brentford are sound and boss Andy Scott has been busy tipping young goalkeeper Ben Hamer for a spot in the England Under-21 set-up.

Hamer, who is on loan from Reading, further enhanced those claims by keeping a clean sheet in Tuesday's gritty 1-0 triumph at Luton.

Brentford have kept eight clean sheets in League Two - the second-best record in their section - and they usually score at the other end having fired blanks just once in their last 14 games in all competitions.

Scott has also managed to get his team exceptionally fit, which is shown in the statistics as Brentford have not conceded a goal in the final ten minutes in any of their 18 league matches.

Skybet - furthest progressing League Two team in FA Cup: 5 Chesterfield, Wycombe, 6 Bournemouth, 7 Brentford, 8 Bradford, 9 Rochdale, 10 Notts County, Gillingham, 14 Luton, 16 Port Vale, 20 Aldershot, Macclesfield, 25 Morecambe, 33 Dagenham; Furthest progressing non-league team: 11-4 Kidderminster, 3 Torquay, 10 Oxford, Histon, 12 Forest Green, Barrow, Eastwood, 14 Fleetwood, 16 Kettering, 20 Blyth, 25 Droylsden, Alfreton, 33 Curzon, 50 Grays, both markets each-way 1/4 odds 1,2,3.

KEY STAT

Brentford are tight at the back. The Bees have the second-best defensive record in League Two

TEAM NEWS

Barrow

New loan signings Luke Joyce, who can play at right-back or in midfield, and goalkeeper Alan Martin go straight into the squad. Andy Bond, Mark Boyd and Matt Henney are all doubts.

Brentford

New loan recruit Eric Odhiambo is available, but fellow signing Damian Scannell is cup-tied and Dean Bowditch is ineligible. Shaun Newton and Marvin Williams are injured.

STORY SO FAR

Barrow Brentford

6 Points from last five league games 7

10 Points from last ten league games 16

WWLDLLdWWL Last ten homes/aways (latest on right) LLWdWDDLWW

1.5 Average goals scored in home/away league games 0.8

1.5 Average goals conceded in home/away league games 0.6

5.0 Average corners gained 6.0

5.0 Average corners conceded 5.2

5.7 Average corners gained home/away 4.8

4.3 Average corners conceded home/away 5.2

18.9 Average bookings points (10 per yellow, 25 per red) 13.0

CAPTION(S):

Brentford celebrate Marvin Williams' goal during the FA Cup first-round match against Havant & Waterlooville; PROBABLE LINE-UPS
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Nov 28, 2008
Words:649
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