Sir Alex Ferguson is wary of the threat posed by a Reading side that could well feel unrestrained by tonight’s FA Cup fifth-round tie at Old Trafford, far from the worries of a relegation fight in the Barclays Premier League.
Brian McDermott’s men currently sit 18th in the league, but an FA Cup trip to Old Trafford could be the perfect tonic to their troubles. That is exactly the warning Sir Alex will deliver to his players as he sends them out attempting to set up a quarter-final clash with either Middlesbrough or Chelsea.
The manager’s United Review programme notes are a must-read before any game, and tonight the boss writes: “We welcome Brian McDermott and a Reading team that plays without frills or fuss. They are having a tough battle in a highly competitive lower end of the Premier League but, even so, have established a reputation for scoring late goals and never knowing when they are beaten.”
That was certainly the case when the two teams met for league duties earlier this season – the Reds won a 4-3 thriller with all seven goals coming in a breathtaking first half. Playing with a similar abandon may well be on the cards this evening, according to the Reds boss.
“They come to Old Trafford in the Cup, perhaps relishing a break from their league worries, and they could be all the more dangerous for that because I feel Reading, for all their lowly position, are a decent side.”