Sir Alex Ferguson’s men take onleague two side Leeds in their first FA Cup tie of the season. United, who look to return to winning ways in the FA Cup after last seasons penalty shootout loss to Everton, are to face Leeds for the first time in six years. Although United are still without various of their first team defenders, the Red Devils are likely to field a virtual reserve team.
The Peacocks and the reds may be two leagues apart but the two sides are amongst the same position in the table as each other. Simon Grayson’s men are six points clear at the top of the table with a game in hand and are unbeaten in fifteen games in all competitions stretching back to October, when they suffered their only league defeat of the season so far at Millwall. Likewise, United go into the cup tie knowing that thanks to their last league game they have closed Chelsea’s gap to two points. These two sides last met in the FA Cup at Old Trafford in 1995 when Ferguson’s men beat the whites 3-1.
Leeds United have no fresh injury concerns with Ben Parker the only long-term absence but The Peacocks are without Defender Leigh Bromby after he picked up his fifth yellow card of the campaign. Rui Marques will also not feature on Sunday as he is part of Angola’s African Nation Cup squad. However, United are still an injury stricken side with John O’Shea, Nani, Owen Hargreaves still out. Rio Ferdinand will also be unable to feature on Sunday despite restarting training on Tuesday. On the other hand, Sir Alex Ferguson will have both Jonny Evans and Captain Gary Neville back after returning to fitness. The Reds summer signing Mame Biram Diouf, who was loaned back to Molde till January, is illegible to play after only recently obtaining a work permit.
Jermaine Beckford began his professional career as a Chelsea trainee, but was released at 19 and only rejoined the pro ranks with Leeds after a prolific spell with non-league Wealdstone. The pacy 26-year-old hit 27 goals in Leeds’ run to the League One play-offs last season and has 19 to his name already this term so he is likely to put up a stern attacking display against the Premier League champions.
Chris Foy has taken charge of two games involving United this season – the Community Shield encounter against Chelsea and October’s League Cup win at Barnsley, in which he issued five yellow cards and also sent off Gary Neville.
Likely Line Ups
Man Utd: Foster, Neville, Evans, De laet/Brown, Fabio, Park, Gibson, Anderson, Obertan, Macheda, Owen