After a FA Cup third round weekend that saw several nearmisses for the so-called ‘minnows’ of English (and Welsh) Football, besidessome notable scalps for Rochdale, Preston North End and Sheffield United, thefourth round draw has thrown up another romantic tie with Cambridge Unitedpaired to host the mighty Manchester United. Having seen off fellow DivisionTwo side, Luton Town, in the third round, the ‘U’s are now the lowest rankedside left in the competition, and they face one of the biggest teams in thecountry at the Abbey Stadium.

It is an additional bonus for the side after they beatLuton 2-1 to earn £67,500 and made the fourth round draw for the first time infifteen years. Their star-studded opponents, eleven times winners of the famousprize, had a closer than expected 2-0 win over Yeovil to secure their place inthe ‘hat’, and will now look to repeat their success against a team they lastfaced in 1991 in the League Cup (a tie that United won over the two legs).

Of the lower league clubs that enjoyed success over sidesin higher divisions, Division One Rochdale who knocked out Stuart Pearce’s NottinghamForest, were handed an intriguing home draw with Premier League Stoke City and SheffieldUnited’s reward for beating Premier League QPR is another away trip to PrestonNorth End (conquerors of Norwich City).

The top two in the Premier League table were both givenhome draws in the next round.

Manchester City, who struggled before eventuallyovercoming Sheffield Wednesday have been paired with high-flying Championshipside, Middlesbrough in what should be another test of their mettle at theEtihad. Chelsea were given what looks like a good draw at home to eitherMillwall or Bradford City, who will need a replay to decide who travels toStamford Bridge for that honour.

Of the other ties, holders Arsenal will fancy theirchances at Championship strugglers, Brighton, while there is a potentiallyvolatile Midlands battle in store when Birmingham City take on West Brom.

AstonVilla have the dubious privilege of hosting free-scoring Bournemouth, in whatcould be an entertaining match.

The fourth round ties are due to be played on 24th/ 25th January.

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