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The FA Cup has once again given football lovers another fascinating match as Manchester United will be looking to stay on course for a record-equalling 13th FA Cuptriumph as they travel to Derby County for the fifth round on Thursday evening. Derby have an Old Trafford legend in their midst, Wayne Rooney and they eagerly waiting to spoil the party for a rejuvenated Man Utd. It be quite something if Rooney was to get his name on the score sheet against his former team. Rooney has scored a record 253 goals for United, will be facing his former side for the third time since ending his 13-year spell at Old Trafford in July 2017. Rooney record speaks for itself having won five Premier League titles, the Champions League, the Europa League, the FA Cup and four League Cups and at 34 years old is still a goalscoring threat.
The FA Cup has had many upsets during its illustrious history and the Red Devils will be hoping to get through to the next FA Cup round. Solskjaer can be fairly satisfied with the progress his team has been making with recently having gone on an unbeaten run of eight matches in all competitions. A few factors have contributed to the success, Bruno Fernandes arrival has definitely seemed to have the positive influence on the squad and the return from injury of Scot McTominay has also boosted morale. The defensive side has also been admirable as Man Utd look to take the next step in the FA Cup with six clean sheets in the last eight matches in all competitions, conceeding only twice in that run.
United have won their last eight FA Cup ties against Derby, and will be aiming to build upon their impressive run of form in front of a sell-out crowd at Pride Park. Derby can only boast one FA Cup success to their name, defeating Charlton Athletic 4-1 in the final of the 1945-46 season. The Rams have not advanced further than the fifth round since the 1998-99 campaign, where they were knocked out by Arsenal in the Quarter-Finals. The most recent meeting between the two sides came in last season’s EFL Cup third round, with then-manager Frank Lampard guiding Derby to a dramatic 8-7 penalty-shootout victory after a 2-2 draw at Old Trafford. However, United’s latest performance at Pride Park was a positive one with a 1-3 win as Wayne Rooney, Daley Blind and Juan Mata sealed the match for United in 2016.
Team News for Manchester United Solskjaer has been handed a boost with the fitness of Axel Tuanzebe and Timothy Fosu Mensah, both of whom could come back into contention, other notable players who may come into consideration are Jesse Lingard, Daniel James and Odion Ighalo, who are all pushing for regular starts. With the Manchester Derby on the horizon, Solskjaer could make a few changes to the side who played against Everton. Team news for Derby is that Wayne Rooney will almost certainly start against his former club, as should Tom Lawrence who made only one appearance for the Red Devils during his time at Old Trafford. Former Arsenal man Krystian Bielik remains out, as do Tom Huddlestone and Duane Holes. Cocu could call upon experienced defender Curtis Davies for the United clash.
Likely Manchester United Starting XI:
Romero; Dalot, Bailly, Maguire (c), Williams; McTominay, Fred, Mata, Lingard, James; Ighalo
Predicted Score: 0-2 to Manchester United