Sunday 31 January 2016

First time opponents on the road in the FA Cup

The Reds will travel to the New Meadow to take on League One strugglers Shrewsbury for the first time in the club's history in the fifth round. 

60 places below United and the lowest ranked side left in the competition, Micky Mellon's Shrews sit 20th in the third tie and upset Championship outfit Sheffield Wednesday 3-2 thanks to an injury time winner in the only fourth round upset.

The two sides have only ever met in friendly encounters, with United emerging 8-1 winners back in 2000 as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Quinton Fortune both hit doubles.

The Shropshire side put out Grimsby- after a replay- and Cardiff to reach that stage before Jack Grimmer's late, late strike against the Owls sent them through to set up the glamour tie against United.

With a capacity of just short of 10,000, Shrewsbury's New Meadow- known as Greenhous Meadows for sponsorship reasons- is the third smallest ground in the division but the lure of the biggest club in the world- coupled with a likely TV appearance- will see a sell out at the quaint old stadium. 

The two sides may never have met competitively, but there are still links between them- former United manager David Moyes played for the Shrews from 1987-1990.

Mickey Thomas (whom played in the 1979 FA Cup final for United) also represented them and England and Man City keeper Joe Hart started his career with the club.

Situated on the River Severn, nine miles from the Welsh border, the trip to the market town will be a step into the unknown for Louis van Gaal and his men as we bid to reach the quarter-finals for the second season in a row. 

The undisputed tie of the round sees the league champions of the last two seasons lock horns as Chelsea and Manchester City meet at Stamford Bridge in a mouth-watering heavyweight clash with a place in the last eight at stake. 

Holders Arsenal will meet Hull for the third season running, Spurs host Crystal Palace in a London derby and Leeds travel to Vicarage Road to take on Watford in a Premier League vs Championship affair. 

United faced League One opposition at this stage last season too as we won 3-1 at Preston before a contentious defeat in the quarter finals against an Arsenal side that went on to lift the trophy at Wembley.

The fifth round ties will played on the weekend of the 19th-22nd February. 

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