Football / FA Cup: Deehan draws little comfort from United task: Trevor Haylett on yesterday's fourth-round pairings

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WELCOME to the real world, John Deehan. An away game at Wycombe Wanderers was the softest of baptisms for the Norwich City caretaker manager compared to what last night's FA Cup fourth-round draw had in store for him . . . Manchester United.

The mighty men from Manchester whom every other team wanted to avoid - those incorrigible optimists from Kidderminster, Stockport and Bath might argue differently - are at Carrow Road in what is the outstanding game of the round.

Given a postponement, 10 third- round draws and the odd floodlight failure here and there, no less than 45 teams went into the Football Association's velvet bag. Only six definite contests emerged.

Saturday's stars will reflect that they fared quite well. Stockport's reward for downing QPR is another home game, with Liverpool next in line should they extinguish Bristol City's lights in the re-arranged fixture at Ashton Gate.

County last reached this stage in 1965 when, after a 1-1 draw at Edgeley Park, Liverpool won the replay en route to Wembley and

victory in the final over Leeds.

After eclipsing Barry Fry's Birmingham, Kidderminster will not be daunted by a home game with Preston. Their manager, Graham Allner, said: 'The danger from our point of view is that after Saturday people will expect us to win. We have to remember Preston are still a league above us and challenging for promotion.'

Manchester United are the 9-2 favourites to succeed Arsenal as Cup-winners but the odds on them landing the treble have lengthened a point to 11-1. Their game pits their captain, Steve Bruce, against his old club but also against one of his best friends in the game, the Norwich caretaker.

Deehan played alongside Bruce in the 1985 Milk Cup-winning Canaries side and they were near neighbours in Cheshire when Deehan had two years with Manchester City. 'You know you have to meet the favourites at some stage if you are going to progress and we would have preferred it to be later rather than sooner,' Deehan said.

'Having said that, if we can count on the same vocal support and the same commitment from the players as we had at Wycombe then we will be confident of getting through.'

Norwich have won both the previous two Cup ties between the sides. For Oxford and Leeds it is the first time they have met at any stage in the competition. Mike Walker, who quit Norwich on the eve of the third round for Everton, could be handed the chance to remove the holders, Arsenal, if they both see off First Division opposition.


Barnet or Chelsea v Sheff Wed or Nottingham Forest

Bolton Wanderers or Everton v Millwall or Arsenal

Cardiff City or Middlesbrough v Manchester City

Charlton Athletic v Blackburn Rovers or Portsmouth

Grimsby Town v Aston Villa

Kidderminster Harriers v Preston North End

Newcastle United v Luton or Southend

Norwich City v Manchester United

Notts County v West Ham United

Oldham Athletic v Stoke City or Bath City

Oxford United v Leeds United

Plymouth Argyle v Barnsley

Southampton or Port Vale v Wolverhampton Wanderers

Stockport County v Bristol City or Liverpool

Swindon or Ipswich v Peterborough United or Tottenham Hotspur

Wimbledon v Sunderland or Carlisle United

(Ties to be played 29, 30 or 31 January)