FA Cup briefing

Team news, statistics and our verdict for the rest of the weekend's action in the FA Cup.

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Manchester United host Swansea in the FA Cup third round

Manchester United host Swansea in the FA Cup third round

Sunday, January 4

Third round

Nottingham Forest v West Ham

Forest check on the fitness of midfielders David Vaughan and Djamal Abdoun. Vaughan (thigh), on loan from Sunderland, and Abdoun both missed the Championship draw at Reading on New Year's Day but Reds boss Billy Davies is hopeful that at least one of them will come back into the reckoning. Striker Darius Henderson will be available after suspension.

West Ham manager Sam Allardyce plans to blood a number of younger players. Captain Kevin Nolan is suspended and fellow midfielder Mark Noble (calf) joins James Tomkins and James Collins (both groin), Winston Reid (ankle), Andy Carroll (heel) and Ricardo Vaz Te (shoulder) on the sidelines, while Mladen Petric has been released after his short-term deal expired.

Top scorers (all competitions): Andy Reid (Nottm Forest) 7; Ravel Morrison (West Ham) 5

Referee: Martin Atkinson.

Our verdict: Nottingham Forest 1 West Ham 2

Sunderland v Carlisle

On-loan Fiorentina full-back Marcos Alonso could be handed a debut for Sunderland. Central defender Wes Brown is available after a ban and partner John O'Shea could return after a shoulder problem but goalkeeper Keiren Westwood has had to delay shoulder surgery which could rule him out of much of the remainder of the campaign because of illness.

Defenders Max Ehmer (shoulder) and Courtney Meppen-Walter (thigh/groin) and winger Tom Lawrence (foot) are all doubtful, while former Black Cats midfielder Paul Thirlwell is out with a calf strain. Sean O'Hanlon could come into contention if Ehmer or Meppen-Walter fail to make it, but he was rested at Crewe due to a minor knee injury and will also be assessed. Carlisle strikers Lewis Guy and Mark Beck are in contention, as are midfielders Dave Symington and Brad Potts.

Top scorers (all competitions): Phil Bardsley, Steven Fletcher & Emanuele Giaccherini (Sunderland) 3; David Amoo (Carlisle) 10

Referee: Neil Swarbrick (Lancashire).

Our verdict: Sunderland 1 Carlisle 1

Derby v Chelsea

Derby will check on Craig Bryson and Johnny Russell - midfielder Bryson (thigh) was replaced by Jeff Hendrick at half-time during the defeat to Wigan while Russell may have suffered concussion. Manchester United defender Michael Keane has had his loan deal extended and is available and it is the same story with Leicester defender Zak Whitbread - but skipper Richard Keogh (knee) is out.

Jose Mourinho plans to field a strong Chelsea team, with defender David Luiz in contention to return after being suspended for the win at Southampton. Midfielder Frank Lampard (muscular injury) and right-back Branislav Ivanovic (knee) are out and Marco van Ginkel (knee) is continuing his rehabilitation.

Top scorers (all competitions): Chris Martin (Derby) 15; Eden Hazard (Chelsea) 10

Referee: Andre Marriner.

Our verdict: Derby 1 Chelsea 3

Liverpool v Oldham

Reds striker Daniel Sturridge (ankle) and midfielder Joe Allen (hip) are at least 10 days away from full fitness with Mamadou Sakho (hamstring) out for longer, while full-back Glen Johnson was taken off in midweek as a precaution after an ankle knock. Boss Brendan Rodgers could use some of his youngsters, having named Brad Smith and Jordan Rossiter in recent Premier League squads.

Oldham have bolstered their ranks with the signing of winger David Worrall and midfielder Simon Harkins on loan until the end of the season from Rotherham and St Mirren respectively. Both are in contention and they follow Adam Lockwood to Boundary Park, after the centre-half penned a short-term deal.

Top scorers (all competitions): Luis Suarez (Liverpool) 20; Danny Philliskirk (Oldham) 10

Referee: Stuart Attwell (Warwickshire).

Our verdict: Liverpool 4 Oldham 0

Port Vale v Plymouth

Our verdict: Port Vale 2 Plymouth 1

A rib injury is expected to keep Chris Lines sidelined for Vale. However, fellow midfielder Anthony Griffith is available after suspension. Meanwhile, veteran striker Lee Hughes has joined Skrill Premier Forest Green on an 18-month deal.

The terms of in-form striker Caolan Lavery's extended loan spell from Sheffield Wednesday mean he is not allowed to play for Plymouth. Boss John Sheridan hopes to arrange a deal to keep on-loan Bury attacker Tope Obadeyi at the club for the tie - the loan expires on Saturday but the Shakers are out of the FA Cup.

Top scorers (all competitions): Tom Pope (Port Vale) 10; Reuben Reid (Plymouth) 12

Referee: David Webb (County Durham).

Manchester United v Swansea

Ashley Young suffered a shoulder injury against Tottenham at Old Trafford and faces an extended spell on the sidelines. Robin van Persie (thigh) seems unlikely to figure, whilst Wayne Rooney continues to manage a groin problem and could be rested ahead of the Capital One Cup semi-final first leg at Sunderland on Tuesday.

Swansea winger Pablo Hernandez limped out of the defeat to Manchester City with a hamstring injury and is set to miss the trip to Old Trafford, joining Michu, Michel Vorm and Nathan Dyer on the sidelines. Roland Lamah or Alejandro Pozuelo will start in Hernandez's place, while Leon Britton is a doubt after illness.

Top scorers (all competitions): Wayne Rooney (Man Utd) 11; Wilfried Bony (Swansea) 11

Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral).

Our verdict: Manchester United 4 Swansea 2


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may well get slated by other United fans for this, but out of the three contenders, I'd far prefer Liverpool to win the title. Yes some elements of their fanbase can be a bit OTT, yes they're our biggest rivals and yes it will make our poor season feel even more like the end of an era (Fergie's gone, Liverpool are back on top). However I just have to applaud Brendan Rodgers and the way he's turned Liverpool around in just a couple of seasons. It...

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