Monday 11 January 2016

United to face Derby in FA Cup fourth round

United will travel to Pride Park to face Championship high-flyers Derby in the fourth round of the FA Cup.

Louis van Gaal's side will be in for a stern test against Paul Clement's second placed Rams, whom have lost only three of their 25 league games so far and look on course for a return to the top flight.

The two sides are no strangers to each other having met in the semi-finals of the League Cup in the 2008/09 as Ferguson's United prevailed 4-3 on aggregate against Nigel Clough's side on our way to lifting the trophy at Wembley. 

By a strange quirk of the fixture list, we met Derby in the FA Cup that season too at the fifth round stage, emerging 4-1 winners on that occasions with goals from Nani, Gibson, Ronaldo and Welbeck- the last of nine meetings between the two in this competition (six wins to the Reds, one draw and two victories for them). 

It might seem strange now, but Derby were top-flight regulars in the late nineties and early 00s before relegation in 2001/02 and then then unwanted record of the worst ever Premier League points tally in 2007-08- a mere 11 under first Billy Davies and then Paul Jewell.

Derby opened their Cup campaign this year with a hard fought 2-1 victory away to League Two outfit Hartlepool, with goals from Jacob Butterfield and veteran striker Darren Bent with his 200th goal in senior football.

Former Real Madrid assistant Paul Clement was assistant under Carlo Ancelotti at the Bernabeau but moved to the Midlands in the summer to replace the Newcastle-bound Steve McClaren who was sacked after the side finished eighth last term. 

Elsewhere, holders Arsenal were drawn at home to Burnley, lowest ranked Eastleigh will host Leeds if they get past Bolton and Exeter or Liverpool will be at home to West Ham.

Other standout ties include a possible south coast derby as Bournemouth await the winners of the Ipswich v Portsmouth replay and League One strugglers Colchester hosts top flight opposition in either Spurs or Leicester. 

The fourth round tie will be played over the weekend of 29th January-1st February. 

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