Man United VS Reading LIVE Football Score 28/01/2023
Manchester United: With no free midweek until March (and those would quickly be eaten up by a deep run in the Europa League), Ten Hag will need all the numbers he can find in his squad. As such, it will be welcome news to him that Jadon Sancho is close to ending his three month absence from the first team for fitness and personal reasons. “He is training with the team and we will see,” said Ten Hag when asked whether Sancho could feature against Reading.
“He’s improving, he’s making steps and we will make the decision after training. He’s on the way back, he’s making steps, he’s back in team training and we have to see when he’s ready to go back into game.” Sancho, who has closed his social media channels, would offer a welcome alternate on the flanks, where Marcus Rashford is shining but the spotlight is also hitting Antony, who has struggled to live up to the billing of his sizeable price tag since joining from Ajax.
Reading: If the Championship side are to pull off an unlikely upset at Old Trafford they will need to find better form than they have in the second tier. On October 1 they sat third in the table after a win over Huddersfield, since then they have gone 4-4-9, including a 4-0 loss to Stoke last weekend, to slip out of the top half.
Their manager will certainly have plenty of motivation on his return to Manchester however. Paul Ince won two Premier League titles with the Red Devils before being told he was surplus to requirements by Sir Alex Ferguson. The 55 year old knows what a winning United side looks like and pronounced himself impressed with the work Ten Hag has done. “It looks to me that he’s raised the standards of the club,” he said. “He’s doing it his way, which is so important. It helps when you’re winning games, and when you’ve got a lot of money to spend.
“He’s brought in the right players. We’ve talked for so many years about Man United’s recruitment. I feel likes he’s getting there. They’re starting to gel. When you go back to Sir Alex and the years he was at Man United, it’s so important to have that stability. You can’t keep chopping and changing managers. They’ve done that too often in the last four or fives years. Hopefully he’s here for a long time.” The last club in England still standing in four competitions, Manchester United’s draining fixture list shows no sign of abating as they host Championship side Reading in the fourth round of the FA Cup. A convincing victory over Nottingham Forest in the first leg of the EFL Cup semifinal in midweek has set Erik ten Hag’s side up for at least one final at Wembley but after six years with silverware United fans will surely want more.
Twelve-time FA Cup winners Manchester United welcome Championship outfit Reading to Old Trafford for a fourth-round tie on Saturday night. The Red Devils secured a 3-1 victory over Everton in the third round to set up a contest with the Royals, who beat fellow second-tier side Watford 2-0 on home soil. Man United have moved one step closer to winning their first trophy since 2017 after securing a 3-0 away victory against Nottingham Forest in the first leg of the EFL Cup semi-finals on Wednesday night.
January loan signing Wout Weghorst scored his first goal for the club either side of strikes from Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes to give the Red Devils a commanding three-goal advantage heading into the second leg at home next week. Focus now shifts to the FA Cup for Erik ten Hag’s side, who enter Saturday’s contest in fine form on home soil after winning each of their last 10 games at Old Trafford across all competitions, scoring 26 goals and conceding only four in the process. Man United, who sit fourth in the Premier League table, are also unbeaten in their last 14 home matches in the FA Cup, including two third-round victories against Reading in the last six years – winning 4-0 in 2017 and 2-0 in 2019.
The Red Devils have in fact progressed from nine of their 10 FA Cup ties against the Royals, but they cannot take their Championship opponents lightly on Saturday, after being eliminated on penalties by second-tier side Middlesbrough in the fourth round last season. Since beating Watford in the FA Cup third round three weeks ago, Reading have failed to win their last two Championship games and have conceded six goals in the process, with a 2-2 draw at home to Queens Park Rangers followed by a 4-0 thumping by Stoke City last weekend.
The Royals, who have spent the last 10 years in the second tier, have subsequently slipped to 14th in the table and five points behind the playoff positions, while there are no immediate fears of relegation as they sit 11 points clear of the bottom three. Paul Ince will return to familiar territory on Saturday when he takes his Reading side to former club Man United, where he spent six years as a player and won 10 trophies, including two FA Cups in 1990 and 1994. Reading have never lifted the FA Cup in their 151-year history and have failed to progress beyond the fourth round in five of the last six years, including an embarrassing third-round exit to non-league side Kidderminster Harriers last season.
Hopes of causing an upset against Man United on Saturday appear to be slim for the Royals, who have lost seven of their last eight FA Cup ties against Premier League opposition, while they have only won one of their previous 22 meetings against the Red Devils across all competitions – that victory was in the FA Cup, though, winning a third-round replay 2-1 back in 1927. Man United will be without Diogo Dalot (hamstring), Donny van de Beek (knee) and Axel Tuanzebe (back) due to injury, while Luke Shaw (illness) and Anthony Martial (leg) are both doubtful and will be assessed ahead of kickoff.
However, Ten Hag has confirmed that Jadon Sancho has taken part in team training and the winger could be selected in the matchday squad for the first time since October. Harry Maguire is available to return after serving a one-match ban in midweek and the centre-back could be handed a start at the expense of either Lisandro Martinez or Victor Lindelof, while goalkeeper David de Gea may be rested, with either Tom Heaton or Jack Butland taking his place between the sticks.
Although Ten Hag has revealed that he will name a “strong” side against Reading, the likes of Alejandro Garnacho, Anthony Elanga, Facundo Pellistri and Kobbie Mainoo are expected to gain minutes either from the start or off the bench. As for Reading, they will be without Andy Carroll (ankle), Naby Sarr (knee), Sam Hutchinson (Achilles) and Liam Moore (hamstring) due to injury, while Ovie Ejaria is set to remain away from the first-team fold having allegedly been told to leave the club this month.
Teenage right-back Kelvin Abrefa, who scored in the third-round victory against Watford, recovered from a knee problem to feature for the club’s Under-21s on Monday and he could be involved in the senior matchday squad on Saturday.