Ireland strikes to help Stoke progress at Rochdale


Stoke City overcame Rochdale at Spotland last night to set up an away clash with Blackburn Rovers in the FA Cup fifth round.

Bojan Krkic, who was later substituted with a knee injury, opened the scoring for Mark Hughes' with a stunning volleyed effort in the fourth minute.

And Krkic's replacement, Corkman Stephen Ireland, doubled Stoke's lead in the 52nd minute.

Victor Moses then rubber-stamped the Potters' place in the next round with a superb curled effort from a tight angle in the 62nd minute. Ireland striker Jon Walters clipped home Stoke's fourth in injury time after Rochdale's Rhys Bennett had pulled a goal back for the home side on 78 minutes.

Meanwhile, Bradford co-chairman Mark Lawn is backing his FA Cup heroes to beat either Sunderland or Fulham in the competition's fifth round.

Yesterday evening's draw pitched Chelsea's unlikely conquerors into a home tie with either Gus Poyet's Premier League Black Cats or Kit Symons' Championship side, who are due to replay next week after a 0-0 draw on Saturday.

While most Bradford fans were hoping for a tie with Arsenal or Manchester United, a home clash will be welcomed and Lawn is of the opinion that neither Sunderland nor Fulham will fancy the trip to West Yorkshire on the weekend of February 14/15.

"We're at home. I think we can win at home," he said. "They won't want to come down here and get this lot (the fans) bouncing. I don't think Sunderland or Fulham will want to come to Valley Parade." City's 4-2 win at Chelsea - having been 2-0 down to the Premier League leaders - is already one of the cup's greatest upsets and another feather in the cap of manager Phil Parkinson. The former Charlton boss oversaw Bradford's run to the League Cup final in 2013. Lawn added: "We don't want him to go anywhere," he added. "I think he's a bit rubbish, so all the other teams, keep your bloody hands off!"


Crystal Palace v Liverpool/Bolton; Arsenal v Middlesbrough; Aston Villa v Leicester; West Brom v West Ham; Bradford v Sunderland/Fulham; Blackburn v Stoke; Derby v Reading; Preston/Sheffield Utd v Cambridge/Manchester Utd;

p Ties to be played weekend of February 14 and 15.