FOOTBALL NEWS

15/02/2013 14:26, Report by M Froggatt, M Singh
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Preview: United v Reading

Did you know? Rafael has not missed a minute of FA Cup action this season, completing both of United’s two clashes with West Ham and the following match against Fulham. No other Red has achieved this feat, though Jonny Evans and Chris Smalling have started each outing before being substituted.

Opposition boss: When his playing career ended, Brian McDermott walked away from football to sell insurance in London - though this new career didn't last long and the former Arsenal midfielder soon found himself in charge of Slough, before moving to Woking and eventually Reading. The 51-year-old, recently named Manager of the Month for January, is still inspired by his insurance work today, explaining: “It was a good experience, doing something I didn’t really want to do because it made me realise what I really wanted.”

Star man: Adam Le Fondre scooped January's Player of the Month prize without actually starting a match after netting five goals in three substitute appearances - playing just 68 minutes in total.  As a result, the boyhood United fan has caught the eye of England boss Roy Hodgson, although the 26-year-old could yet represent France via his grandfather's nationality.

Quote/unquote: "We'll take nothing for granted. In the FA Cup you always expect the unexpected. It happens so many times. You just hope you're not a casualty or a shock. We've had a few over the years. But I can't be more pleased than I am at the moment with the form and spirit in the place." – Sir Alex.

Sub-plots: United have not lifted the FA Cup since 2004 and Sir Alex's men are desperate to end that drought this season. Surprisingly, only four current Reds - Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Darren Fletcher and Robin van Persie - have lifted the famous trophy, and the latter did so with

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