How Chorley got here: The National League North side reached the third round for the very first time with a 2-1 win over League One side Peterborough United in November, their fourth consecutive win in this season’s competition.
Before that, they had beaten Gateshead, York City and Wigan Athletic and this televised tie against Derby County is their reweard for that victory.
Hats off to Chorley’s groundsman
A broken generator saw to it that Chorley’s groundsman Ben Kay had an uncomfortable night camping out on the Victory Park pitch, as he explained on BBC Radio 5 Live this morning …
Today’s match officials
Referee Kevin Friend
Assistant referees Robert Merchant and Robert Atkin
Fourth official Ross Joyce
FA Cup: Chorley v Derby County
Non-league hosts entertaining a struggling Championship side has all the ingredients of a potential giant-killing, but as Chorley take on Derby County at Victory Park today, nobody is quite sure who the “giants” are. An outbreak of Covid-19 in the Derby County camp means the club have been forced to send a team made up entirely of U-23s and academy players to fulfil the fixture, a state of affairs that means some bookmakers have installed the Lancashire side from the National League North – the sixth tier of English football – as favourites.
In the absence of Wayne Rooney, Derby’s academy director, Darren Wassall, will take charge but will be without several more highly regarded members of the under-23 squad who have trained with the first team in recent days.
While not as high profile, this is a similar scenario to that faced by Aston Villa against Liverpool last night, a crucial difference being that the youngsters of Derby County are full time players, while their opponents from Chorley are part-timers with neither a Champions League nor Premier League winner’s medal between them.
Kick-off at Victory Park is at 12.15pm (GMT) but stay tuned in the meantime for what promises to be fascinating team news and build-up.