The FA Cup trophy.

United set to learn FA Cup fourth-round opponents

Thursday 23 January 2020 12:00

Manchester United need to move on from the home loss to Burnley, but are still awaiting confirmation of which club will provide the opposition in Sunday's Emirates FA Cup fourth round.

The Reds are faced with the unusual situation of still not knowing where we will be playing in a few days' time due to the postponement of Tranmere Rovers and Watford's replay, as the Prenton Park pitch was waterlogged on 14 January.

The two sides drew 3-3 at Vicarage Road in the first tie, with League One outfit Tranmere bravely battling back from three goals down at the interval.

Tahith Chong scored twice at Prenton Park in the Trophy.
This will be Watford's third game in five days and, speaking last week, manager Pearson admitted the FA Cup is "not a priority" for his club. It has since been reported that he could draft several Under-23s players into the squad for tonight's game.

“The league is our priority and I make no apologies,” he said, after making nine changes for the 3-3 draw. “It was never my intention to do anything other than protect the squad. If we were in a more comfortable situation and had more players available it would be different, but we don't because we have a lengthy injury list.”

Former United striker Danny Welbeck is reportedly close to being fit again for Watford in a match that must be concluded tonight, with extra time and penalties potentially required.

Meanwhile, home side Tranmere will be without midfielder Ollie Banks after he picked up a muscle injury during Saturday's 2-1 defeat by Ipswich Town.

Full-back Calum Woods and on-loan Aston Villa forward Rushian Hepburn-Murphy have returned to training after injury and illness respectively, but defenders Mark Ellis and Evan Gumbs are out.

United have never played a competitive senior game at Tranmere's Prenton Park, although the clubs met in the Trophy earlier this term when our Under-23s lost 3-2 in a feisty affair, which featured a brace from Tahith Chong.

The Reds also beat Rovers 5-0 in the League Cup at Old Trafford back in 1976 , which is our only senior meeting in history.

Club legend Paddy Crerand, writing in his United Review column on Wednesday, revealed which of our potential fourth-round opponents he prefers. 

“Incredibly, we don't even know who we’re due to play in the next round of the FA Cup this weekend, due to the first Tranmere v Watford game being called off," the popular Scot wrote. 

"Teams from the lower divisions can struggle to look after their pitch to the same degree that Premier League sides can, and it was no surprise to hear of postponements last week.

"I’d prefer Tranmere in the next round because I know what the revenue can do for a club at that level."

Our tie against the victors will kick off on Sunday at 15:00 GMT and the game is due to be broadcast live on BT Sport in the UK. Ticket details are available here.

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