United v Fulham FA Cup Preview
After scraping past Blackpool, in extra time, in round 3, we`re now faced with the gigantic task of trying to get past Manchester United, on their own patch, to get into round 5. On paper, it`s a task that not too many would be envious of, but although Old Trafford is something of a fortress, somebody has to win there some time so why can`t, on a good day, it be us?
If we`re looking for inspiration with regards to a minnow beating a big-un, then our Greek midfielder, Karagounis, is just the man having been part of the Greece side that surprised everyone and triumphed at the Euro`s several years ago.
Karagounis, speaking about the possibility of Fulham overcoming the odds, has remarked,
"Cup competitions offer a chance for every team. That`s what makes competitions like the FA Cup so interesting - anything can happen."
"All you can do is build momentum. You just don`t know how far you will go. That`s what we did with Greece nine years ago - and look where it got us."
"To get my hands on a major trophy was a moment I will never forget. But the FA Cup is an historic competition. We know it well back in Greece."
"I think on our day we are capable of defeating any team. So who is to say we cannot go on and get to Wembley?"
"This team can go far. I`ve always been ambitious and I have a lot of faith in what we can achieve together."
You just never know do you!
Manchester United Team News:
Sir Alex Ferguson will be mulling over whether to select a full strength team for this fixture or go with some fringe players, seeing as the Scot has bigger fish to fry in the Premier League and Champions League.
Whatever he decides, it`ll still be a formidable starting eleven we`ll be facing although it will be devoid of two possible starters with Ashley Young recently ruled out for a month with a knee injury and Jonny Evans side-lined with a hamstring problem.
Player to watch: Robin van Persie
Probably the single reason why United are still, despite a dodgy defence, heading for honours on several fronts. Would it be too much to hope for Sir Alex Ferguson to rest him? But then again it`d still be perm any two from Rooney, Welbeck and Hernandez!
Fulham Team News:
Already handed a difficult task, courtesy of the draw, Martin Jol`s task has been made harder by the unavailability, through injury, of several players.
Kieran Richardson picked up a leg injury last week and won`t be fit to face his old club whilst Kerim Frei and Mohamadou Diarra are out with pelvis and knee injuries respectively.
Player to watch: Dimitar Berbatov
Can the Bulgarian provide that one moment of magic that can ease us through this tie? It`d be nice to think so!
Match Facts & Stats
If Fulham are to defy the odds and either in at Old Trafford, or get a replay, they`ll need to improve on their recent record at the Theatre of Dreams with Fulham having won just once in the last fourteen attempts, that being some ten years ago back in 2003.
The officials hoping to see justice is done at Old Trafford are:- Referee:- M. Clattenburg Assistant - D. Bryan Assistant - P. Bankes Fourth Official - M. Jones
Fortune favours the brave they say! But being brave at Old Trafford could be tempting fate. Are we better putting up a decent rearguard action and hoping for a stroke of luck or should be throw caution to the wind and go for broke? I`m hoping it`ll be a percentage of both but I still reckon the best we can hope for is replay and get Sir Alex and his boys back to Craven Cottage, something they`d not want with a hectic fixture schedule ahead of them.
After the trip to the north-west, to face Manchester United, we welcome West Ham United to Craven Cottage next Wednesday, in a Premier League clash.