Coupe de France 16emes : Bourg-en-Bresse Peronnas v Toulouse FC
There could be an awkward mood around this match as both teams are in bad shape in the league, so a key factor could be which team decides to go for this to at least try to cheer people up.
Home side Bourg-en-Bresse Peronnas faced fifth-tier AS Fabregues in the last round and it took extra time to wear them down, the Ligue 2 side eventually winning 2-1 with goals from Guillaume Heinry and on-loan-from-OL Christopher Martins Pereira.
FBBP are nineteenth in Ligue 2, having lost three on the spin since that cup triumph, shipping nine goals, to put their conceded total at an impressive 50 (fifty). This approach is also true of the cup, where they are yet to keep a clean sheet despite Fabregues being their highest-ranked opponents in their three games so far.
There are signs of frantic movement in the transfer market in an attempt to get things back on track – five players have come in so far, including most recently central defender Nicolas Saint-Ruf on loan from Nancy (gamely saying ‘we’re not dead yet’ in his welcome interview) to join leftback Jordan Pierre-Charles on a free from Valenciennes.
Manager Hervé Della Maggiore has been in place for ten years, during which time they reached the 8emes in 2012 (after a quarter-final appearance against Lyon in 1998), and the same stage in the Coupe de la Ligue in 2015 – their first appearance in that competition after turning pro on winning promotion to Ligue 2.
It looks like their third season in the second tier could well be their last for a while – they are only one point behind US Quevilly in the play-off spot, but it’s a further three up to Nancy who have just changed managers, and then there’s another gap up to 16th. While some other teams are in bad runs of form at the moment (Niort, Valenciennes) they have a buffer over the current bottom three. The key issue will be if the new recruits can steady the ship at the back, but the priority has to be the trip to Gazelec on Friday, to try to get a recovery going.
Toulouse rather surprisingly beat Nice in the last round, Somalia pouncing on an error from OGCN keeper Cardinale, but have less surprisingly just (Monday) parted company with cable-knitted motivational speaker Pascal Dupraz, as they, also, sit 19th in the table.
They opened the scoring away at Montpellier at the weekend, but had Max Gradel sent off and then conceded a 95th-minute winner to leave Mosson pointless, and shortly afterwards, seeking new management. Assistant coach Michaël Debève will take the reins for this match while, presumably, the club cast around for a permanent replacement with at least a little time left in the window to try to reinvigorate the squad. Gradel was already suspended for card-accumulation, as is Kevin Amien, and Ola Toivonen will also be missing through injury, which may not help matters.
It seems likely that this will not be an entertaining affair as two teams bang out of sorts and in bad spirits meet up in the battle of the penultimates. League position is with Toulouse, of course, but the departure of Dupraz could further destabilise an already shaky outfit, and if FBBP can get their new boys hitting the ground running and their home support in good voice, they have a chance to reach the last 16 for the third time, which would be a bright spot in a an otherwise gloomy season.