By the time we finally get to play this tie, courtesy of the television companies, we`ll know who, if we beat Reading, our opponents in the quarter-final are. Monday night is a far from ideal time for an FA Cup tie if you ask me, but then again what do I know! Being drawn at home is an added bonus though and Reading may well have something far bigger on their minds, survival in the Premier League, to contemplate giving us a real challenge, but then again, you just never know.
Sir Alex Ferguson, reaffirming his intention to change his starting eleven has commented ahead of the tie,
“I will make some changes but I don’t think the incentive to get to the quarter-final is lost on any of the players. Whatever side I pick we’re expected to qualify”
And with a club of our stature that has to be the case.
United Team News:
Following the titanic Champions League clash with Real Madrid, on Wednesday night, Sir Alex Ferguson has hinted that he will shuffle his starting eleven. With reference to absentees, Darren Fletcher is a long term injury concern whilst Paul Scholes is out for two weeks with a knee problem.
Returning to those aforementioned changes, we could very well see Tom Cleverley, Nemanja Vidic, Nani, Anderson, Javier Hernandez and Ashley Young make the starting eleven.
Player to watch: Javier Hernandez
The little Mexican would have been disappointed not to start against Real Madrid and could be looking to provide the kind of performance that will give Sir Alex Ferguson no choice but to reconsider.
Reading Team News:
Brian McDermott, as we`ve already hinted, may see this as a nice-to-have rather than must-have victory with Premier League survival his main concern. Already McDermott has stated that he will use his full squad for this fixture.
With regards to injuries Jimmy Kebe and Mikele Leigertwood will both require fitness tests whilst Jason Roberts and Alex McCarthy are definitely out.
Hoping for starts are Adam Le Fondre and Noel Hunt.
Player to watch: Adam Le Fondre
Making a reputation as somebody who can come off the bench and score, United will need to be wary of this frontman.
Match Facts & Stats
Our paths, in the FA Cup, have crossed 7 times before with United winning 6 and losing 1 The last time we met in this competition was back in 2007 when a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford saw United travel to the Madejski Stadium and win 3-2.
The man in charge of this 5th round tie is Andre Marriner
The pundits are taking United to march on to the quarter-final stage, winning comfortably. But, Reading will be a resolute team to crack and we should be aware of their recent trait of some remarkable comebacks. I`m taking United to win 3-1.
Our next fixture sees us travel to Loftus Road to take on a troubled Queens Park Rangers side managed by Harry Redknapp, next Saturday.