Villa's number up again as O'Neill's team draw familiar foes

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The Independent Online

Aston Villa could be forgiven for thinking that the little plastic balls at FA headquarters have something against them. For the fourth time in seven seasons their number came out alongside that of Manchester United when the draw was made yesterday for the FA Cup third round.

Villa will at least be thankful that their ball came out first so they will be at home but United, beaten finalists last season, have won each of the three previous meetings in the competition in 2002, 2004 and 2007 all of which have been in the third round, and have already won 4-1 at Villa Park this season.

Queen's Park Rangers could probably walk to their fixture after being drawn against the holders Chelsea, while 2006 winners Liverpool will travel to Luton Town, who they beat in the 2005-06 competition 5-3, or Nottingham Forest.

Arsenal travel to Championship side Burnley while there are three other all-Premier League meetings with Tottenham Hotspur hosting Reading, West Ham United facing Manchester City and Steve Bruce taking his Wigan Athletic side up to visit his old team-mate at Manchester United, Roy Keane at Sunderland.

The Havant & Waterlooville manager Shaun Gale admitted he was disappointed not to be pitted against a Premier League club after his side were drawn against either Swansea or Horsham. The Hawks have enjoyed a great Cup run so far they have knocked out York and Notts County and Gale is confident they can continue their adventure. "It's disappointing, but it's a winnable game," he said. "No disrespect to Horsham but we would prefer Swansea, you've got to look to the next round, whether it be against Horsham or Swansea we've got a chance."

Havant & Waterlooville are chasing promotion to the Blue Square Premier and Gale concedes he will have a task ensuring his players concentrate on the job in hand when they return to league action against St Albans this week. "We need to get the players back focused," he said. "This doesn't happen every season. You get a lot of ups and downs in football and you need to make the most of the ups."

The Horsham manager John Maggs, meanwhile, feels his side have already been handed a place in the third round as they prepare for their replay against Swansea next week. The Ryman Premier Division side battled bravely to draw 1-1 with their League One opponents last week and earn their place in the hat for the third round.

"The replay next week against Swansea is our third-round tie," Maggs said. "If we are fortunate enough to get a result a lot of our supporters will be looking at the fourth round."

FA Cup third-round draw

Preston v Scunthorpe

Port Vale/Chasetown v Cardiff

Colchester v Peterborough

Bolton v Sheffield United

Blackburn v Coventry

Brighton v Mansfield

Northampton or Walsall v Millwall

Charlton v West Brom

Watford v Crystal Palace

Luton/Notts F. v Liverpool

Plymouth v Hull

Aston Villa v Man Utd

Tranmere v Hereford

Tottenham v Reading

Burnley v Arsenal

Bristol City v Middlesboro

Fulham v Bristol Rovers

Huddersfield v Birmingham

Horsham/Swansea v Havant & Waterlooville

Sunderland v Wigan

Oxford/Southend v Dagenham & Redbridge

Everton v Oldham

Derby v Sheffield Wed

Southampton v Leicester

West Ham v Man City

Ipswich v Portsmouth

Wolves v Cambridge Utd

Barnsley v Blackpool

Chelsea v QPR

Stoke v Newcastle

Swindon v Burton Albion/Barnet

Norwich v Bury

Ties to be played on the weekend of 5/6 January.

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