Football: Machin given Maine chance

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The Independent Online
MEL MACHIN, sacked as manager by Manchester City three years ago, was yesterday given the chance to return and prove a point when his Barnsley side was drawn to play at Maine Road in the fifth round of the FA Cup.

It was the perfect end to the day for Machin, who had earlier watched Andy Rammell earn Barnsley a 4-1 win over West Ham with a hat-trick.

'It will be strange going back,' Machin said. 'It's the first time I have taken a team there since leaving but when a manager goes back to an old club his players usually pull out that little bit more.

'I'll look forward to it. I have a lot of good friends there, a lot of memories and it will be nice. I'll enjoy it.'

It will be a tesing match for City, who have won only four times at home this season and have fared much better away from Maine Road. But their manager, Peter Reid, was not concerned about that. 'The first thing you want in the Cup is a home draw and we have got that. Barnsley have done well and we will certainly treat them with respect.'

City's neighbours, Manchester United, are 7-2 favourites for the Cup, and 7-1 for the Double, having been drawn away to Sheffield United, where they lost on the opening day of the season. 'There are no easy games in the Cup but when we are on form we are capable of beating anyone,' United's manager, Alex Ferguson, said.

The other Sheffield club, Wednesday, were given the apparently easier task of playing First Division Southend United at Hillsborough, while Tottenham Hotspur, having seen off one Premier League title pretender in Norwich will face another if Aston Villa overcome Wimbledon in a replay next Wednesday.

There will be a clash of former Liverpool favourites if Kevin Keegan's Newcastle, the First Division leaders, dispose of Rotherham at the second time of asking. They will have to visit Kenny Dalglish's Blackburn Rovers.


Tottenham Hotspur v Aston Villa or Wimbledon

Manchester City v Barnsley

Blackburn R v Rotherham U or Newcastle U

Sheffield Wednesday v Southend United

Sheffield United v Manchester United

Derby County v Bolton Wanderers

Arsenal or Leeds U v Nottm F or Middlesbrough

Ipswich Town v Swansea City or Grimsby Town

(Ties to be played 13, 14 or 15 February)