It’s a break from Premier League football for both Manchester United and Reading, as they face off in the fifth round of the FA Cup. Sir Alex Ferguson’s side have been on a fine run domesitcally, winning ten conseuctive games, while Brian McDermott’s Reading have been known to provide shocks in this competition.
Man United boss Sir Alex Ferguson – ‘Reading are a team who are showing plenty of fighting qualities, as you would expect given they are down near the bottom. We’ll take nothing for granted. In the FA Cup you always expect the unexpected. You just hope you’re not a casualty or a shock. 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. There is a good spirit and they’re all contributing. Whatever side I pick we’re expected to qualify.’
Reading manager Brian McDermott – ‘It’s going to be a great game for everybody and a superb occasion. We can’t wait for it come around. It’s also going to be a benefit to us that we’re going there in the FA Cup because it will prepare us for the Premier League game at Old Trafford next month. We want to do well in the cup but our biggest aim is to stay in the Premier League and build from there.’
Man Utd Team News:
Sir Alex Ferguson is likely to make changes for this fixture and has publicly said he will use his whole squad. However, he will not be able to call on the services of Paul Scholes, who is carrying a knee problem.
Player to watch: Anderson
The Brazilian has openly admitted that he wants to receive more game time at Old Trafford and will therefore want to impress his manager in this game, where he is expected to start in centre midfield.
Reading Team News:
Reading are unlikely to risk the midfield duo of Mikele Leigertwood and Jimmy Kebe, who picked up knocks in training last week. Striker Jason Roberts is a long-term problem with a hip injury, while goalkeeper Alex McCarthy will not be considered for selection after only returning to light training this month.
Player to watch: Adam Le Fondre
The prolific striker is likely to start the game tonight and similarly to Anderson, will want to prove a point to his manager that he should get more game time. Alfie has proved very effective from the bench this season, but will want to show his quality on the big stage starting a game.
Man Utd – 4-4-2: Lindegaard, Rafael, Smalling, Evans, Buttner, Nani, Anderson, Cleverley, Young, Welbeck, Hernandez
Reading – 4-5-1: Federici, Kelly, Pearce, Morrison, Harte, McCleary, Guthrie, Carrico, McAnuff, Hunt, Le Fondre
The referee for this game will be Andre Marriner.
Irrelevant of what side Sir Alex puts out, you would expect United to cruise to a comfortable win. We will put up a fight tonight, but not enough of one.
Vital Reading prediction: Man Utd 3 – 1 Reading
Man Utd – QPR (A) – Saturday 23rd February – Premier League
Reading – Wigan (H) – Saturday 23rd February – Premier League