THE SECRET SCOUT: Five stars to watch who are plotting major upsets in the FA Cup third round including Plymouth’s Euro 2020 hopeful and a former Manchester United youngster
- Luke Jephcott will hope to shine for Plymouth to impress Wales boss Ryan Giggs
- Former Manchester United youngster Ben Whiteman will star for Doncaster
- Once promising Everton star Conor McAleny will look to impress for Oldham
Our man is a leading scout who travels the country looking for top talent.
Here, ahead of a big weekend in the FA Cup third round, he picks out five players who could have a key role to play in the search for major upsets…
Club: Plymouth Argyle Position: Forward Age: 20
If Huddersfield of the Championship are to be undone when Plymouth visit on Saturday then the chances are that Jephcott will have something to do with it.
Luke Jephcott will hope his Plymouth Argyle form could carry him into Euro 2020 with Wales
To say he is on form is an understatement. Jephcott, 21 later this month, has scored in 10 of the last 14 games he has played, including four goals in his last three. He is getting better all the time and has improved hugely under the tutelage of manager Ryan Lowe.
His form this season has been good enough to have him talked about as a possible member of the Wales squad for the Euros this summer.
Club: MK Dons Position: Defender Age: 36
Son of Crystal Palace assistant manager Ray, this grand old one-club man has played over 700 league games for the Dons, who will hope to replicate Lincoln’s victory over Burnley from four seasons ago when they travel to Turf Moor.
Lewington has a lovely left foot and, even though he doesn’t have the pace of yesteryear, he remains a fine example of a loyal professional.
Despite his advancing years, fitness has never been a problem and this tall, sturdy defender has started all but one of his team’s 21 League One games this season.
Despite being 36-years-old Dean Lewington (left) has been integral to MK Dons while Ben Whiteman (right) is an important part of Doncaster Rovers’ midfield under Darren Moore
Club: Doncaster Rovers Position: Midfield Age: 24
Having started his career at Manchester United, Whiteman is now established as an important midfielder for Darren Moore’s improving Doncaster side.
The League Two team have won six of their last eight games and will not be fazed by their trip to second-tier Blackburn Rovers.
At 6ft 1in, Whiteman is a player who can command the midfield and has leadership qualities. He can score goals, too, and has eight to his name in all competitions in the present campaign.
Club: Newport County Position: Midfield Age: 25
This talented Welshman is the hub of the successful side sitting second in League Two under the management of Michael Flynn.
Newport host Premier League strugglers Brighton on Sunday, a game that Sheehan will relish. He sets the play from the midfield area and much will revolve around him if Newport are to get a result.
Sheehan was a trainee at Swansea but moved on without playing a senior game. Now he has a chance to make a name for himself on a big day for another Welsh club.
Josh Sheehan (left) will hope to help Newport County overcome Brighton while Conor McAleny (right) will aim to star for Oldham Athletic now he has shaken off injury issues
Club: Oldham Athletic Position: Forward Age: 28
As a youth player, he looked a good prospect at Everton but his career has been constantly hampered by injuries — knee ligament damage, ankle problems and a broken leg.
That has impeded some of his many loan spells but he has shown the resolve to fight back and will be a threat when League Two Oldham go to Bournemouth.
The penny also seems to have dropped in terms of how to play his role and he is scoring goals for Harry Kewell’s team, netting 13 in all competitions this season.
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