Blyth Spartans: Boss Tom Wade senses Birmingham City shock

Blyth Spartans boss Tom Wade believes their home FA Cup third round tie with Birmingham City is winnable.

Spartans, who play in the seventh tier, beat League Two strugglers Hartlepool in the second round and, with Birmingham 19th in the Championship, Wade senses another upset.

"Birmingham have picked up over the last six or seven games, but it's a home tie we could win," he said.

"They've got to play terrible and we've got to play great, but it's possible."

He told BBC Sport: "It's a great draw and it's a home draw - which we wanted."

Croft Park played host to then-Premier League Blackburn Rovers in the third round of the 2008-09 competition, when a Carlos Villanueva free-kick won the tie for Rovers 1-0.

Dave Varty and Terry Johnson celebrate Blyth's win against Stoke in 1977-78.
Blyth's Dave Varty and Terry Johnson celebrate eliminating Stoke in the 1977-78 FA Cup fourth round

A crowd of 3,445 packed in for that match - but a bigger, improved venue could lead to a larger following for the visit of Gary Rowett's side.

"It'll be full - capacity is 4,500 - but it's noisy, they're passionate, you're a foot away from the supporters and they get behind us," Wade added.

"I know Gary has come from Burton Albion and knows all about tough crowds so I think it will be a good, exciting game.

"It could be a high-scoring match because we go for it and I can't wait."

The current Blyth side have an opportunity to write their name in cup folklore, with the club already possessing a fine FA Cup pedigree.

In 1977-78 they reached the fifth round, memorably beating Stoke City along the way, before bowing out to Wrexham after a replay.

Their feats in 2008-09 took them past Bournemouth before the visit of Blackburn ended their progress.

"We're passionate about football, and the FA Cup is the biggest tournament in the world," Wade said. "To be a small part of that is special to non-league players and supporters."