IT’S a weekend every football fan looks forward to... the FA Cup third round.

Wrexham have a proud history in the competition and although famous giant-killings in the 21st century have been scant to say the least, there’s so many matches and so many marvellous memories to look back at over the years.

Last year’s thrilling 4-3 win at Coventry City was certainly one of them.

It was the day when Phil Parkinson’s side came of age as they threw everything at The Sky Blues, racing to a 4-1 lead thanks to goals from Sam Dalby, Elliot Lee, Tom O’Connor and Paul Mullin.

It was 33 years ago this week that Wrexham, who had finished bottom of the entire Football League the season before, took on the best team in the land, George Graham’s Arsenal at The Racecourse.

We all remember Mickey Thomas’ fabulous free-kick and what boss Brian Flynn called a ‘Roy of The Rovers’ winner from local lad Stevie Watkin.

Wrexham have reached the third round of the world famous competition 27 times since 1946 where Blackpool battered them 8-2 on aggregate when the ties were played over two legs.

It wasn’t until 1970 that Wrexham reached the fourth round for the first time after exits at the hands of Stoke (2-1 in 1953), Scunthorpe (3-1 in 1954), Reading (2-1 in 1957), Norwich (3-1 in 1962) and Liverpool (3-0 in 1963).

The defeats to Scunthorpe and Norwich were replays but revenge was sweet in 1970 when John Neal’s Wrexham returned to Carrow Road.

Reds legends Arfon Griffiths and Eddie May got the goals to cage The Canaries in a 2-1 victory to spark the club’s best decade of third round appearances.

The only third round defeat in the 70s came at Orient in 1972 in a 3-0 reverse.

Neal was still in the hotseat in 1974 to mastermind a 2-0 win at Crystal Palace where Mel Sutton and Dave Smallman did the damage in a cup run that took them to the quarter-finals for the first time in their history.

Four years later they were back mixing it with the best in the last eight - courtesy of a thrilling third round success against Bristol City.

The tie at Ashton Gate ended 4-4. Bobby Shinton scored twice and Dixe McNeil, who scored in every round that season, also netted along with a Geoff Merrick own goal.

The replay was all one-way, McNeil, Mickey Thomas and Graham Whittle scoring in a game where Wrexham also missed two penalties.

Whittle was also on target alongside Billy Ashcroft 12 months earlier in a 2-2 draw at Sunderland’s Roker Park. Ashcroft then smashed in a Racecourse replay winner.

The Seventies ended with a big win - 6-2 at home to Stockport in a tie that wasn’t played until February after the big freeze.

McNeil (2), Shinton, John Lyons, Les Cartwight and Wayne Cegielski got the goals and there was another six-pack 12 months later against Charlton.

McNeil was at the double again but Mick Vinter went one better with the only third round hat-trick of the post-war era. Ian Edwards was Wrexham’s other scorer.

With Wrexham in the old Second Division, they started in round three at the start of The Eighties. They beat West Ham at the third time of asking, McNeil scoring an extra-time winner in 1981 and dead-eye Dixie smashed in a volley as Wrexham beat Brian Clough’s European champions Nottingham Forest at The City Ground 12 months later.

Vinter and defender Steve Dowman also scored while Barry Horne was Wrexham’s scorer in a dismally disappointing 2-1 home defeat to arch rivals Chester City in 1987.

Netting both Blues goals was Gary Bennett, who eight years later would be on target for the Reds, along with Keiron Durkan in a 2-1 defeat of Ipswich.

But Bennett couldn’t produce the heroics 12 months later as Wrexham went out 1-0 at Peterborough.

It didn’t take much to rattle Vinnie Jones but in 1998 the Wimbledon hardman went nuts in a third round clash at Selhurst Park.

Steve Dunn - a top flight referee at the time - ruled out what The Wombles thought was a stoppage-time winner.

But the man in black claimed he’d blown his whistle before Marcus Gayle’s effort crossed the line.

The third round tie ended 0-0 with the replay at The Racecourse a real end-to-end classic. Karl Connolly scored twice for Wrexham but so did Michael Hughes for The Dons, who won 3-2.

For Hughes revenge was sweet as he’d been in the West Ham team humiliated by Brian Flynn’s cup warriors 12 months earlier.

Bryan Hughes scored in a 1-1 draw at a snowbound Racecourse with Kevin Russell grabbing the only goal in the Upton Park replay as the Reds went all the way to the quarter-finals again.

Darren Ferguson and Robin Gibson were Wrexham’s heroes in the 2000 competition as third round ties were played in December 1999.

The Reds beat a Middlesbrough side that included Paul Gascoigne 2-1.

Denis Smith’s side lost 3-1 at Derby in 2007 while Wrexham, this time with Kevin Wilkin in charge, were beaten by the same scoreline at Stoke in 2015.

Thry suffered penalty shoot-out heartache against Brighton at The Racecourse in 2012.

Adrian Cieslewicz’s goal earned a 1-1 draw on the south coast and player-boss Andy Morrell’s brilliant curler was the highlight of a 1-1 draw in the replay.

But the penalty shootout ended in tears for Reds supporters, who will out in force once again on Sunday when Wrexham make the cross-border trip to face Shrewsbury Town.