This weekend 4,612 travelling Blues comprise just over 15 per cent of the crowd. They will be all over Stan Cullis and keeping the bottom half of Steve Bull occupied.
A draw on Saturday would mean a replay, but from the next round onwards tied games will go straight to extra-time and penalties. It may not be long before earlier rounds are similarly affected. Steve McClaren was the latest to endorse such a move after his Derby side took local rivals Leicester to a second game they narrowly lost.
From the quarter-final stage onwards the prize tends to come into focus and starting line-ups more closely resemble the usual. Only eight top-flight sides have made it this far. All were kept apart by the draw. How many will make it into the last eight, one step from Wembley?
Former Norwich, Villa and Blackburn coach Paul Lambert likes to rotate his Wolves starting 11, and it has served him spectacularly well against Premier League opponents in the cup. Stoke were beaten 2-0 and Liverpool 2-1, both on their home soil.
The Scot, who played in Germany and admires the game there, looks years younger than the besieged figure in the dugout as Villa slipped down the table in 2015. But it has not been plain sailing across the West Midlands.
After the Black Country club was purchased by Chinese corporation Fosun International in July, an investment flurry reminiscent of that by Roman Abramovich 13 years earlier ensured. Eighteen new players came in, including record-signing Ivan Cavaleiro, the fruit of agent Jorge Mendes’s relationship with Benfica.
However, errors and inconsistency remained – there were four successive defeats for Molineux fans to stomach in the autumn. Lambert, their fourth technician last year, has not eradicated their defensive problems. Having now lost three in a row, the sleeping giants have slipped to 18th in the 24-club Championship, six points from the trapdoor.
The number of meetings between our two clubs have been limited by an inability to stay in the same division. One thing we have had have in common is playing Harry J All Stars’ song ‘Liquidator’ prior to kick-off.
The rocksteady hit was an instrumental version of the 1969 Estick Records release ‘What Am I To Do Now’ by Jamaican musician Tony Scott, who also wrote and produced the tune. Scott sold on the rights to Harry J (Johnson) and Trojan Records picked it up in the UK. The single, featuring Winston Wright’s epic keyboard work, first charted in October ’69 and peaked at nine in late November.
Chelsea’s players had been exposed to Caribbean music on close-season tours to the region, and the Shed had a substantial number of fans of Jamaican ska, rocksteady and reggae. ‘Pete ’n’ Dave’s Pre-Match Spin’ at the Bridge made the song a crowd favourite and it has been played ever since.
Wolves were another club for whom it became an anthem, though its history there is a rather more chequered one. Whereas Blues supporters clap along and chant the club’s name in the chorus, some Wanderers adherents added coarser lyrics referencing rivals West Brom.
As a result, Harry J was liquidated from Wanderers’ pre-match regimen on police advice in 2002. They now run out to Jeff Beck’s ‘Hi Ho Silver Lining’, adding a lusty ‘Wol-ver-hampton!’ to the chorus.
Here is hoping it is the all-stars who prevail on Saturday evening.