LONDON, Jan. 4 (Xinhua) -- After the drama of the Premier League fixtures of the Christmas and New Year period which ended with Manchester City's nerve wracking 2-1 win at home to Liverpool on Thursday, coaches and players might be forgiven for looking at the third round of the FA Cup which is played over the next four days as light relief.
The third round of the Cup, where the big guns from the Premier League and the Championship join sides from Leagues 1 and 2 and any non-league survivors who have battled their way through, always has a little bit of magic about it.
That magic may have diminished in recent years as Premier League clubs use the weekend as the chance to rest key players and give minutes to fringe players as Europe and the league have taken on extra importance.
The extra money in the Premier League also means the widening gulf in class between the top and bottom levels of the tournament make it harder to see 'giant-killing' acts, but it's still hard to deny there is still something special about the Cup.
Anyone doubting the magic of the Cup should go to Tranmere as the League 2 (fourth category) side kick off the Cup at home to Tottenham on Friday night.
Spurs have just expended the contract of defender Toby Alderweireld until June 2020 and have a League Cup semi-final against Chelsea next Tuesday, but coach Mauricio Pochettino has promised to play a strong side against the underdogs.
One player out this weekend is Paul Pogba who will be rested as Manchester United look to make it five wins out of five under coach Ole Gunnar Solsjkaar when they take on Championship strugglers Reading at Old Trafford on Saturday.
Among ties between two Premier League outfits: Bournemouth entertain Brighton in a south-coast derby, while Liverpool won't be happy with a difficult trip to face Wolves, although they recently beat them in the Premier League.
Manchester City will make wholesale changes for their game at home to Championship strugglers Rotherham, while Chelsea may have things a bit harder at home to Nottingham Forrest, who are looking to return to the top-flight this season.
Non-League Woking will provide the glamor of the Cup when they entertain Premier League Watford. Woking will remember their 1991 Cup campaign which saw them beat West Brom (then in the top-flight) 4-2 away from home before narrowly losing 1-0 away to Everton in the 4th round.
Leicester City probably won't relish their trip to Wales to place League 2 side Newport County, while Gillingham (League 1) could pose a threat at home to Cardiff City, while the biggest threat of an upset probably comes in Bristol, where Championship side, Bristol City entertain the Premier League's bottom side, Huddersfield Town who have lost their last eight games.
Elsewhere expect Lincoln City to be positive away to Everton, while Grimsby Town will hope for a miracle away to Crystal Palace.
Although both sides will start as massive underdogs that won't stop them being followed by hundreds of traveling fans and it is supporters who travel to watch their lower league sides play away at Premier League grounds who prove the Cup still retains some magic.