Crawley read for United test
Crawley Town's players are preparing for the biggest day of their footballing lives on Saturday, when they go to Old Trafford to play Manchester United in the FA Cup. The last remaining non-league side in the competition could not have wished for a bigger draw, the sort of fixture that the FA Cup's reputation is built on.
On Tuesday night, Crawley drew 0-0 away to Wrexham in the Blue Square Bet Premier but things will be very different this weekend as they play at the biggest club ground in the country in front of a television audience.
Manager Steve Evans told the club's website: "Manchester United away at Old Trafford in the FA Cup fifth round - now that sounds incredible but I do believe we can get a positive result. If I don't believe it, who will?"
United manager Sir Alex Ferguson and his assistant Mike Phelan showed respect to Crawley by travelling to Wrexham to scout their opponents. "Sir Alex Ferguson paid us a huge compliment by taking the time to watch us himself but that is just another indicator as to what makes him the best football manager that has ever lived," Evans added. "We will go to Old Trafford and give it our very best but we are aware of the task involved."
The match is one of six fifth-round games this weekend, while there are also two fourth-round replays in the congested fixture list. In the fifth round, League One side Sheffield Wednesday are on a nine-game winless run in the league, but can lift the gloom with an upset away to Birmingham, while Stoke will be confident of progress at home to League One leaders Brighton.
On Sunday, Fulham take on Bolton, while Leyton Orient - making headlines of late with their challenge to West Ham's bid to move to the Olympic Stadium in London - could earn the backpages when they host Arsenal. West Ham, are at home to Burnley on Monday night.
Cup holders Chelsea host Everton on Saturday in the first of the replays, while League One Notts County earned themselves a trip to Eastlands on Sunday to take on Manchester City, who needed a late Edin Dzeko goal at Meadow Lane to stay in the competition.
With the fixture congestion, the replay winners will get little rest before their fifth-round commitments. Either Chelsea or Everton will host Reading on Tuesday night, while Manchester City or Notts County will play Aston Villa on Wednesday.