Football: Old Trafford lure forWrexham

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The Independent Online
Wrexham's reward for pulling off the only major upset of the FA Cup's third round to date will be a money-spinning fourth-round date with Manchester United - provided the holders are not knocked out at Sheffield United tonight.

After Saturday's dramatic late victory over Ipswich, the Wrexham manager Brian Flynn expressed a wish for another home tie against Premiership opposition. His hopes were not fulfilled, but playing before a full house at Old Trafford would more than compensate.

The Second Division club lost 5-0 on aggregate to United in the European Cup-Winners' Cup just over four years ago. In those days, however, Wrexham were fighting relegation to the Vauxhall Conference. Having knocked one set of League champions, Arsenal, out of the FA Cup in the interim, they would relish a tilt at another.

The draw produced only four clear-cut ties. Sheffield Wednesday, finalists in 1993, receive Wolves in a match likely to be reduced in some sections of the media to Chris Waddle against the man who chose not to pick him for England, Graham Taylor.

Queen's Park Rangers tackle West Ham in one of two London derbies -- Chelsea travel to Arsenal or Millwall in the other -- which Hammers' fans might see as an omen. Their team beat QPR on the way to winning the Cup 20 years ago.

Crystal Palace go to Nottingham Forest, reviving memories of the three third-round matches the clubs contested during Forest's run to the final four years back. As for more modern auguries, Palace went down 1-0 at the City Ground a week ago today.

Leicester, bottom of the Premiership, renew rivalries with Portsmouth, whom they overcame in a bitter play-off semi-final in 1993.

One curious aspect of the draw, which could improve the prospects of the proverbial "day of shocks", is that no fewer than 10 of the 13 Premiership teams definitely through have been drawn away from home. On the other hand, with the exception of the tiesat Nottingham and Shepherd's Bush, teams from top-flight will in the main avoid each other in the event of success in their replays next week.

FA CUP ODDS: 9-2 fav Manchester United, 6-1 Liverpool, 7-1 Blackburn, 8-1 Spurs, 10-1 Arsenal, 12-1 Newcastle, 14-1 Leeds, Sheffield Wednesday, 16-1 Nottingham Forest, 20-1 Everton, 25-1 bar, including 1,000-1 Wrexham.

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