All you need to know about the FA Cup 3rd round ... but were afraid to ask

Manchester United's Paul Scholes (left) and Sheffield United's Michael Tonge battle for the ball during the last time the two sides met at Old Trafford in 2007.
Manchester United's Paul Scholes (left) and Sheffield United's Michael Tonge battle for the ball during the last time the two sides met at Old Trafford in 2007.
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THAT was the FA Cup draw that was then and while for most Yorkshire supporters it was pretty underwhelming, there are a few choice ties to at least ensure that the start to January isn’t thoroughly miserable for all.

The pick of the litter has to be Sheffield United’s trip to Manchester United, while there’s an attractive-looking Keepmoat date between Doncaster Rovers and Stoke City. And, of course, not forgetting Leeds United v Rotherham United - Evans v Cellino, Best v Berardi - car park passes at the ready.

DO WE KNOW EACH OTHER? Steve Evans and Neil Redfearn at the final whistle after Rotherham beat Leeds in the league at Elland Road last month. Picture: Simon Hulme.

DO WE KNOW EACH OTHER? Steve Evans and Neil Redfearn at the final whistle after Rotherham beat Leeds in the league at Elland Road last month. Picture: Simon Hulme.

It promises to be spicier than the most potent mug of mulled wine you can drink this festive season.

As for Sheffield Wednesday, Huddersfield Town, Hull City and Middlesbrough - well at least you are at home, lads.

Here’s a few observations on the third-round draw - always one of the marquee dates in the season.

1: Manna from heaven for the Blades.

After an insipid first half of the season with the natives restless - a trip to Manchester United is something worth rallying around. Talk about good timing and an early Christmas present.

Rewind the clock to two years ago and misery engulfed Bramall Lane after a thoroughly forgettable opening to 2013-14. Cue an attractive looking third round tie at Villa Park and the rest was history, so to speak. A semi-final re-run might be pushing it, but this tie is something to cherish at least and lift the gloom.

2: Leeds v Rotherham - a tie messrs Evans and Redfearn could have done without.

Steve Evans has spoken about his hopes of ‘letting the football speak’ following the tie as he and Redfearn go head to head for the second time in under two months. Small chance of that.

Bad blood exists between Leeds owner Massimo Cellino and Redfearn, who labelled him ‘childish’ after being refused a car parking pass in the league game on November 21. You sense Redfearn would have preferred the draw to be most definitely elsewhere.

For Leeds fans, a rare home draw at least ... And it promises to be feisty as Gaetano Berardi and Leon Best potentially resume acquaintances. Behave yourself, boys.

3: A blue-riband Keepmoat tie. Of sorts.

Since opening its doors in January 2007, Premier League visitors have been a rarity at the Keepmoat. The most famous probably being when Manchester United came for the stadium’s official opening in August 2007.

Aston Villa and Bolton have called - but both occasions weren’t exactly memorable. But the arrival of the Potters - who have not played Doncaster since 1960 - is an attractive one for both clubs. A bumper away end is nailed on, given that not many Stoke fans will have ever previously visited Rovers.

4: Not the tie that Huddersfield wanted. But a chance for progress.

Huddersfield are one of several Yorkshire teams who couldn’t half do with a cup run. They reached the fifth round a few years back before bowing out limply to Wigan, but that was small beer. Memories of Arsenal (2011) and two ties against Chelsea in the noughties are fading. Reading at home for the second successive year is not a crowd-puller, but win that - and a bigger fish may just await in round four.

5: Bradford City fans - see above.

Bradford’s tie with Bury was redeemed solely by the fact that it takes just short of an hour to journey from Valley Parade to Gigg Lane. But while it was not the head-turning draw that City fans craved - after some mouth-watering cup ties with Chelsea, Arsenal, Aston Villa and Sunderland over the past few years in both domestic cup competitions - it gives them a half-decent chance of reaching round four. Again.

This time last year, Bradford were pitted with a pig-ugly third-round draw at Millwall and no-one needs to be told what happened next. Progress ensured a fourth-round draw with Chelsea. Remember that one, Jose?