FA Cup fourth round action kicks off this weekend when Manchester United host Middlesbrough at Old Trafford on Friday night.
The winter break has allowed teams to recuperate and prepare for a few busy days ahead with Premier League and EFL fixtures to follow in mid-week.
Fans will also hope to get a first sighting of their teams’ brand new signings, given this will be the first time most teams have played since transfer deadline day.
Here’s everything you need to know about the FA Cup 4th round matches available to watch.
Ralf Rangnick has hinted that Paul Pogba could start against Middlesbrough as he returns to the squad after a thigh injury that has ruled him out since November.
However, United will be without Edinson Cavani and Victor Lindelof.
If Chris Wilder’s Middlesbrough want any chance of winning then they cannot perform as they did against Mansfield Town in the third round, where they scraped a 3-2 win against the League Two side thanks to a last-minute goal.
Michail Antonio has arrived back from international duty with Jamaica but is unlikely to play.
Despite West Ham possibly being without their No 9 they will have to be prepared, knowing that non-league Kidderminster are capable of causing an upset following their 2-1 win against Reading in the previous round.
With the Club World Cup in sight it is important that Thomas Tuchel’s men take it game-by-game to avoid being on the losing side of an FA Cup upset.
Kai Havertz, Timo Werner, Saul Niguez and Andreas Christensen look set to return but Thiago Silva and Christian Pulisic played during the international break so are unlikely to figure.
Plymouth Argyle beat Birmigham 1-0 in extra-time in the last round, with a good defensive performance preventing a single shot on target.
While that looks unlikely against the European champions, they are looking forward to the challenge, as captain Joe Edwards said: “We hope they play their strongest team really, it will probably be harder for us but you want to go into these games playing against the best players in the world.
“They’ve got some magnificent players and it would be great to see how good they really are, if you come up against them one v one.”
Because of Covid postponements the last time these two teams met was in January 2021, when Brighton won 1-0.
Graham Potter has exceeded expectations this season whilst Antonio Conte has put Spurs back into top four contention.
Lewis Dunk, Adam Lallana and Shane Duffy could return for the Seagulls but Enock Mwepu and Jeremy Sarmiento will miss the game and Alexis Mac Allister is still testing positive for Covid.
Brighton have struggled to finish the many chances they have created but Spurs still need to be on guard because Potter has set his team up exceptionally well against the best sides this season, drawing with Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool.
Conte knows that Tottenham cannot fall behind as they did against Morecambe, otherwise Brighton could punish them.
Liverpool are still without Mohammed Salah and Sadio Mane who have made it to the Afcon final on Sunday but regardless the Reds should make this one a walk in the park, with Cardiff City struggling in 20th in the Championship.
Jurgen Klopp’s men beat Arsenal without key players in the last round so will be confident of victory again.
The midfield has been strengthened by the return of Naby Keita and Harvey Elliot is set to return to the squad after four and a half months out with an ankle injury.
Liverpool fans will have to wait for the debut of new signing Luis Diaz as he has not arrived back from international duty yet.
After the high of winning the FA Cup last season, Leicester have struggled. The Foxes currently sit 10th in the Premier League table and have been knocked out of the Europa League.
Perhaps the fault should not solely be on manager Brendan Rodgers, because Leicester have struggled with absences due to injury, Afcon and Covid.
Wilfred Ndidi and Kelechi Iheanacho have returned from Cameroon but Wesley Fofana is aiming to join the squad midway through the month.
Nottingham Forest evidently will not be a pushover after beating Arsenal in the third round. They prevented the Gunners from having any shots on target despite enjoying just 33 per cent of possession.
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