Tottenham sent to Old Trafford

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One tie shone out like a beacon when the draw was made last night for the third round of the FA Cup. At the stage when the smallest survivors hope to meet one of the giants, Manchester United were asked to open their defence of the Cup at home to Tottenham.

United's chairman, Martin Edwards, responded to the news by saying: "We've won the Cup nine times and Tottenham have won it on eight occasions so the two most successful teams in FA Cup history have been drawn against each other."

If random chance, through the helping hands of the former England manager Bobby Robson and the current national coach, Glenn Hoddle, had an unpleasant surprise for two of the biggest clubs in the hat, it was kinder to the three non-League teams who are sure of their places in the thick of the action come the first weekend of January.

Stevenage Borough, the GM Vauxhall Conference champions last season, were given a home tie against Birmingham City, of the First Division, and Hednesford Town were rewarded for their conquest of Blackpool in the second round with a home game against the Coca-Cola Cup giant-killers, York City. "You won't enjoy coming to our place," was the immediate promise from the Pitmen of Staffordshire.

Woking, who have put out Millwall and Cambridge United away from home in the Cup so far this term, must travel again, this time to take on Coventry City, who were humbled by Sutton United in the third round in 1989 - only two seasons after winning the Cup.

Enfield will travel to Plymouth Argyle if they overcome another Second Division side, Peterborough, in a replay.

Liverpool, beaten in the final last May by Eric Cantona's goal, will start their quest to return to Wembley with a game at Anfield against either Walsall or Burnley. That draw, coupled with the tougher assignment handed to Manchester United, persuaded bookmakers to install Liverpool as 5-1 favourites, while United were rated at 7-1.

FA Cup third-round draw

Stevenage v Birmingham City

Barnsley v Oldham Athletic

Chesterfield v Bristol City

Barnet or Wycombe Wanderers v Bradford City

Wolves v Portsmouth

Plymouth Argyle v Enfield or Peterborough

Hednesford Town v York City

Middlesbrough v Chester City

Wrexham or Scunthorpe Utd v West Ham

Luton Town v Bolton Wanderers

Sheffield Wednesday v Grimsby Town

Manchester Utd v Tottenham

Stoke City v Stockport County

Queen's Park Rangers v Huddersfield Town

Coventry City v Woking

Notts County v Aston Villa

Reading v Southampton

Crystal Palace v Leeds Utd

Everton v Swindon Town

Gillingham v Derby County

Chelsea v West Bromwich Albion

Carlisle Utd v Tranmere Rovers

Brentford v Manchester City

Charlton Athletic v Newcastle Utd

Blackburn Rovers v Port Vale

Crewe Alexandra v Wimbledon

Norwich City v Sheffield Utd

Liverpool v Walsall or Burnley

Leicester City v Southend Utd

Arsenal v Sunderland

Watford v Oxford Utd

Nottingham Forest v Ipswich Town

Ties to be played 4 or 5 January