Manchester United are likely to rest a number of players following their midweek draw against Real Madrid when they take on Reading in the FA Cup fifth round. Sir Alex Ferguson’s side beat West Ham in the third round before a comfortable 4-1 win against Fulham in the fourth. It is worth noting that the last two times United beat the Cottagers in the FA Cup, they have gone on to win it (1999 and 2004).
Reading meanwhile have been impressive as of late, winning sixof their last nine games. The defeat at Stoke last time out brought a six-game unbeaten streak to an end, but January’s Manager of the Month Brain McDermott will hope his side will pull off an upset against the runaway league leaders on Monday night.
With Ferguson ruling out Paul Scholes for a further two weeks, there may be a recall for Anderson to the starting line-up, with the Brazilian making a short appearance from the bench on Wednesday night in Madrid. The Royals have had a full week to prepare this game, while the trip to Spain will have taken its effect on Ferguson’s team, giving Reading a real possibility of pulling off a shock result against a side that haven’t won the cup since 2004.
PAST THREE MEETINGS...
Reading 3 (Robson-Kanu, Le Fondre, Morrison) Man Utd 4 (Anderson, Rooney 2, Van Persie), Premier League, December 2012
Reading 0 Man Utd 2 (Rooney, Ronaldo), Premier League, January 2008
Man Utd 0 Reading 0, Premier League, August 2007
Reading have only won once in 12 FA Cup meetings between the two sides, with United claiming six victories along with five draws.
Ferguson’s side have conceded just once in their last five FA Cup matches at Old Trafford.
Only once in the last 12 occasions that Reading have drawn opponents from the same division in the FA Cup have they progressed to the next round.
Wayne Rooney has scored three goals in his last two appearances against Reading.
The Premier League clash earlier this season saw all seven goals scored in the first 35 minutes.
It will be United’s 39th consecutive FA Cup game to be shown live on TV, a staggering record dating back to the 2005 third round.
Manchester United to win: 1.3
Reading to win: 12
TV: Live on ESPN at 8pm. Highlights on ITV4 at 10.30pm.