Swansea Away!

By Rob Cooper
Last updated : 05 January 2004
Steve Coppell's side have been handed another poor away draw in the FA Cup. After being squared up to Preston North End in Round Three, a decent First Division outfit but hardly a glamour tie, the Royals have gone one worse and been pitted up against lowly Swansea City.

Reading drew 3-3 with Preston at Deepdale last weekend so must win the replay a week tomorrow if they are to face Swansea who sit eighth in the Third Division, just a point adrift of the Play-Off places.

The Royals will travel to the Vetch Field on Saturday 24th January should they win their replay, the kick off will be at 3pm unless the game is moved for TV coverage. Of course, no-one in their right mind is going to want to watch Swansea v Reading / PNE (on TV or otherwise) so you can guarantee that it will not be moved.

The only hint of a silver lining to the very gloomy cloud is that the Royals should, in theory at least, comfortably defeat the Swans if they see off Preston, bringing with it a bundle of prize money.

Steve Coppell is so desperate to invest in new players that you can bet he will field his strongest team in Round Four should we progress so as to maximise the club's revenue from the cup, and give us another chance of a money-spinning tie against a Premiership side.

Elsewhere, holders Arsenal, who comfortably saw off lowly Leeds yesterday, have been drawn against Steve McClaren's Middlesbrough. Crewe's conquerers Telford face Millwall at home, whilst fellow non-league side Accrington will play away at Coventry if they see off Colchester in a replay.

Southend or Scarborough will play Watford or Chelsea and Newcastle will face-up to Liverpool at Anfield in what will surely prove to be the tie of the round. Manchester United meanwhile, who so rarely play away to lower league opposition in the cup, travel to either Northampton or Rotherham for their Fourth Round tie.

The draw in full:
Manchester City / Leicester City v Tottenham
Swansea v PNE / Reading
Northampton / Rotherham v Man Utd
Kiddermister / Wolves v West Ham
Arsenal v Middlesbrough
Coventry v Accrington / Colchester
Ipswich v Sunderland
Luton v Tranmere / Bolton
Liverpool v Newcastle Utd
Burnley v Gillingham
Nottingham Forest v Sheffield Utd
Portsmouth v Barnsley / Scunthorpe
Everton v Fulham
Telford v Millwall
Southend / Scarborough v Watford / Chelsea
Birmingham v Wimbledon / Stoke City

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