Ferguson to rotate United team to face Reading

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson will rotate his side for Monday's FA Cup clash against Reading.

The Red Devils returned from Madrid in midweek after earning a 1-1 draw in their Champions League last 16 first leg with Real. They are likely to rest the key protagonists from the European encounter ahead of the return meeting with the Spanish champions.

“I'll make some changes, even though it’s an incentive to get to the quarter-final. I don’t think that’s lost on any of the players," he told the club's official website.

"There's a good spirit in the place. Whatever side I pick we’re expected to qualify. That's what happens at United. Whatever team you play you’re always expected to win.”

United have failed to win England’s premier cup competition since a 3-0 victory over Millwall in 2004, and Ferguson is targeting a sixth success in his 26-year tenure at Old Trafford.

But the Royals are looking to spring a cup upset against their more illustrious opponents. They have only ever recorded one win against United, in an FA Cup tie in 1927, but only lost to the odd goal in seven in the last meeting in December.

Reading captain Jobi McAnuff said: “We have to get ourselves going again. We have some massive games coming up and can take a lot of heart from the run that we have been on.”

A home game against Championship outfit Middlesbrough or Champions League holders Chelsea awaits the victor. Quarter-final ties are to take place on the weekend of March 9-10.

By Josh Ilan