City get the next round of the FA Cup underway tonight – and my plea to boss Pep Guardiola is to do as he says and not chop and change his starting line-up.

Obviously with injuries and a worrying increase in suspensions he has had to make some changes, but the unnecessary rotation of the squad has hardly helped the team that’s still getting to grips with the manager’s unique possession at all costs tactics.

The Blues are amongst the favourites at 7/1 with Betfred to win the cup but first up it is inconsistent West Ham in London – and City, who remain just about on the shirt tails of revitalised Chelsea at the top of the Premier League, are odds on to be first in the hat for the next round draw.

Chelsea are 5/1 favourites to win the cup with United 8/1 at Betfred. Jaap Stam’s Old Trafford’s return as Reading manager tomorrow is the big talking point amongst us Reds. He left us under a cloud and will be out to prove himself with his team that are ensuring Newcastle and Brighton don’t have it all their own way at the top of the Championship. Pity he’s not playing for him going up against Zlatan Ibrahimovic would be a quite battle to savour.

Can Jose make it back to back FA Cup successes for Man Utd?

Can Jose make it back to back FA Cup successes for Man Utd?

Jose Mourinho has got the top five looking over their shoulders with a superb run of league form and I’m praying he doesn’t lose momentum by significantly altering his starting eleven for the tie which has that look of a banana skin about it – and Reading are 14/1 to go through. Incidentally we’ve had several requests for the price on Stam to one day succeed Mourinho as United boss and that’s 33/1.

The managerial merry go round is in full swing – and here’s hoping Ryan Giggs gets on board sooner or later! The longer the United legend leaves it the harder it will be to get back into the game. I thought the Swansea job would have been ideal for him to start going it alone in the hotseat. He’s seen the rough with the smooth working so long with the highly successful Sir Alex Ferguson and then the depressing regimes of David Moyes and Louis van Gaal. The beauty of any of the jobs coming up during this January sacking season is that the newly appointed managers can’t fail in that if they are relegated then it’s the other fella’s fault!

Anthony Crolla is confident in his ability to avenge his defeat.

Anthony Crolla is confident in his ability to avenge his defeat.

Finally, I’m already rumbling about our own Anthony Crolla’s rematch with Jorge Linares for the WBA, WBC Diamond and Ring magazine World Lightweight titles at the Manchester Arena on March 25.

Like in September when the Venezuelan superstar came out on top in a superb battle with Moston’s own ‘Million Dollar,’ I have agreed to put my hand in my pocket to sponsor the show.

The 30 year old from Moston is convinced he’s better placed to regain his title following their first meeting and I agree. He’s our local hero who we all know showed immense courage when he fractured his skull bravely tackling burglars. He proved the doubters wrong with a winning return to the ring and after going close against Linares I’m sure we’re in for a another classic in March but with Crolla on top this time.

Unlike the vast majority of top fighters Crolla and Linares genuinely respect each other so thankfully there won’t be the pre-show trash talk that sours the sport’s image.

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