Stam set to make Cup return to old haunt

LONDON • Former Manchester United hardman Jaap Stam will return to Old Trafford next month, after Reading - the second-tier side he manages - were drawn to meet the holders in the third round of the FA Cup on Monday.

The 44-year-old - who won the FA Cup in his debut season at United in 1999 as part of a Treble-winning campaign - has been enjoying his debut season in management despite fears for his job if a proposed takeover of the club goes through.

The three-time Premier League champion has guided Reading to the heights of third in the table against expectations.

Stam took over from Brian McDermott in June and Reading right-back Chris Gunter has attributed their success this campaign to the new manager.

Gunter said: "I think people trust him as a person and his knowledge of the game is fantastic.

  • FA CUP 3RD ROUND DRAW

  • Premier League teams

    Manchester United v Reading
    Hull v Swansea
    Sunderland v Burnley
    Millwall v Bournemouth
    West Ham v Manchester City
    Chelsea v Notts County or Peterborough
    Middlesbrough v Sheffield Wednesday
    West Bromwich v Derby
    Everton v Leicester
    Liverpool v Newport or Plymouth
    Watford v Burton Albion
    Preston North End v Arsenal
    Stoke v Wolverhampton
    Tottenham v Aston Villa Bolton v Crystal Palace
    Norwich v Southampton

    Selected

    QPR v Blackburn
    Birmingham v Newcastle
    Cambridge v Leeds

    Ties to be played Jan 6-9

"He has raised the standard of the whole club in a quiet way and he's a leader."

Stam's former United team-mate Andrew Cole expects the Dutchman to be warmly welcomed back to his old stamping ground.

The former striker told BBC Sport: "No doubt Jaap will get a great reception when he goes back to Old Trafford. He was a superb centre-half for United."

In a draw short of the "romance of the Cup", the remaining non-league clubs failed to get paired with a Premier League club.

There are, though, four all-Premier League clashes. The most eye-catching is Everton hosting struggling champions Leicester with both sides' realistic goal of domestic silverware reduced to the Cup.

Four other relegation battlers are pitted against each other, Hull hosting Swansea and Sunderland at home to Burnley.

Pep Guardiola's first experience of the world's oldest knock-out cup competition will be at West Ham.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 07, 2016, with the headline 'Stam set to make Cup return to old haunt'. Print Edition | Subscribe