Cards are stacked for Sheffield United to pull off an FA Cup shock at Manchester United

Sheffield United have become renowned  'FA Cup fighters
Sheffield United have become renowned 'FA Cup fighters
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Anyone feel an FA Cup ‘shock’ coming on?Ailing giant, no confidence, no win in what might be nine games by then - manager under intense pressure plays League One side with a brilliant cup record, a recent revival in fortunes and a lot to play for.

Manchester United manager Louis Van Gaal is a man on the brink.

Sheffield United manager Nigel Adkins is also a man on the brink – on the brink of getting his team back into the play-off places in League One.

Could the Blades go there in a couple of weeks and win? Yes they could.

Manchester United play Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium on Boxing Day, the last place a big-name team wants to go when they’re in a rut.

Stoke have added real quality to their salt-of-the-earth endeavor that makes their proletarian power a potent force.

After that Van Gaal’s battered bunch face a Chelsea side freed from the yoke of Mourinho’s ego. If they play like they did against Norwich Chelsea will tear United apart.

Swansea go to Old Trafford on January 2 - they have beaten United in their last three encounters - then Sheffield United head to M16.

If Van Gaal’s still there he could be a dead man walking, he may already be.

The trick at Old Trafford is if you stop them scoring in the first half hour you have a chance. It’s a cliché and it’s true everywhere but in this case and at this time it’s a palpable and achievable target.

With 8,500 Blades there - assuming the full allocation is taken up - any setback for the home team could be the end of their FA Cup hopes and the end of Louis Van Gaal.

Just a thought.

* Congratulations to Andy Murray on his BBC Sports Personality Of The Year award.

Like six-times snooker world champion Steve Davis, Murray has been tagged ‘boring’ by press and commentators.

Like Steve Davis I reckon he gets a raw deal.

He’s a bit serious and petulant at times but he’s clearly a bright bloke with a wry sense of humour, a sense of duty towards his sport and our best tennis player since Fred Perry started making shirts.

Steve Davis is one of the nicest men you could wish to meet. Friendly, chatty, helpful and patient with all-comers. Boring? Nothing like it. Both men are too good at their sport, too intelligent, too thoughtful to be that.