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
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.