Man Utd continue amazing run of televised FA Cup games
Third-round tie against Reading will be club's 55th consecutive cup game shown live on TV
Manchester United will celebrate an incredible FA Cup run next month even if they lose – their third-round match against Reading will be their 55th consecutive game in the competition shown live on TV.
The Red Devils' extraordinary run dates back more than a decade to January 2005, when they captivated BBC viewers with a 2-0 win over Exeter City in the third round. Since then, every FA Cup game they have played has been broadcast live.
But while the decision to screen January's match on BT Sport will please United supporters, not everyone is happy.
"The decision to show the Red Devils, who lifted the famous trophy last season after defeating Crystal Palace in the final at Wembley, has angered fans," says The Sun. "Especially supporters of lower or non-league sides, whose teams would benefit greatly from the extra TV revenue."
With few outstanding ties in the third round draw, it is hardly surprising that the six televised games feature five of the Premier League's top six teams. The only club to miss out are league leaders Chelsea.
Proceedings kick off on Friday night, with Manchester City's visit to West Ham. United play Reading at 12.30pm on Saturday, followed by Arsenal vs Preston.
Liverpool plays Plymouth or Newport on Sunday lunchtime, while Spurs entertain Aston Villa in the afternoon.
The only televised tie not featuring a big Premier League club is Cambridge vs Leeds on Monday evening.
Among the matches to be overlooked for TV are Everton's clash with Premier League champions Leicester City on Saturday afternoon and Chelsea's showdown with Notts County or Peterborough on Sunday afternoon.
FA Cup third round televised matches:
Friday, 6 January:
West Ham United vs Manchester City (7.55pm, BBC)
Saturday, 7 January:
Manchester United vs Reading (12.30pm, BT Sport)
Preston North End v Arsenal (5.30pm, BT Sport)
Sunday, 8 January:
Liverpool vs Plymouth Argyle or Newport County (1.30pm, BT Sport)
Tottenham Hotspur vs Aston Villa (4pm, BBC)
Monday, 9 January:
Cambridge United vs Leeds United (7.45pm, BT Sport)
FA Cup: Big clubs avoid each other in third round draw
The third round draw for the FA Cup was made on Monday evening and once the fanfare was finished it all fell a bit flat. There was scarcely a glamour tie to be seen with Manchester City's trip to West Ham United the only match that could remotely be billed as a heavyweight clash.
Everton will host Leicester City, although given the Foxes domestic form this season, that's not the nail-biter it might have been last season.
Even the chance of a giant-killing looks remote with Reading not expected to get much change out of Manchester United at Old Trafford, and Liverpool unlikely to be shaking in their boots at the prospect of hosting the winner of the second round replay between Newport County and Plymouth Argyle.
The lowest ranked club left in the cup, Stourbridge United, were denied the chance to make some money against a Premier League powerhouse, instead paired against League Two Wycombe Wanderers - that is if the Northern Premier League Premier Division outfit see off Northampton Town in their rearranged fixture.
Perhaps the only tie to conjure up a whiff of romance is Arsenal's visit to Preston North End. There was a time, in the 1930s, when a clash between the Lilywhites and the Gunners was something to behold. But Preston's victory in the 1938 FA Cup final was their last major silverware and it will require something special if they're to overcome the club whose 12 FA Cup titles is a record matched only by Manchester United.
FA Cup third-round draw:
Ipswich Town v Lincoln/Oldham
Barrow v Rochdale
Manchester United v Reading
Hull v Swansea
Sunderland v Burnley
QPR v Blackburn
Millwall v Bournemouth
West Ham v Manchester City
Brighton v MK Dons/Charlton
Blackpool v Barnsley
Wigan v Nottm Forest
Birmingham v Newcastle
Chelsea v Peterborough/Notts County
Middlesbrough v Sheff Weds
West Brom v Derby County
Everton v Leicester
Liverpool v Newport/Plymouth
Wycombe v Northampton/Stourbridge
Watford v Burton Albion
Preston v Arsenal
Cardiff v Fulham
Stoke v Wolves
Cambridge Utd v Leeds
Bristol City v Shrewsbury/Fleetwood
Huddersfield v Port Vale
Tottenham v Aston Villa
Brentford v Halifax/Eastleigh
Bolton v Crystal Palace
Norwich v Southampton
Sutton Utd v AFC Wimbledon
Accrington v Luton
Rotherham v Oxford/Macclesfield
ties to be played between January 6 and 9