Jan 5, 2018 at 8pm UK at ​Old Trafford
Attendance: 73,899
Man UtdManchester United
DerbyDerby County
Lingard (84'), Lukaku (90')
FT(HT: 0-0)

Gary Rowett relishing Manchester United challenge

Derby County manager Gary Rowett challenges his side to step up to the plate when they face Manchester United at Old Trafford in the third round of the FA Cup.

Derby County manager Gary Rowett has challenged his side to go into Friday night's FA Cup third-round tie against Manchester United with no fear.

The Rams are on course to return to the top flight after almost a decade away having risen up to second in the Championship table as things stand, but they face a daunting trip to Old Trafford this weekend against a team currently sitting second in the Premier League.

Rowett acknowledged that his side would go into the game as heavy underdogs, but believes that the players will benefit from facing the level of opposition they hope to come up against on a weekly basis next season.

"It's a great challenge for the players - one we are going to learn an awful lot from about the players and whether they can step up and take the responsibility in a game of that magnitude. It's a great tool to see which of our players can handle it," he told the club's official website.

"We're aspiring to play against teams like Manchester United every week so if we go fearful and show we can't handle that type of game then that's a bit of a worry when it comes to what we are trying to achieve this season. I'm not going to be too bravo about the game because it is a daunting task to face a team like that away from home.

"We are going to be very competitive. There's no pressure of picking up three points and, if anything, I think it means that we will go there more relaxed and allow us to play with a little more freedom. We will go there to try and play and show no fear. These are the games that we aspire to be facing week in, week out. As a player and a manager, you have to embrace these challenges. Who wouldn't want to pit their wits in this type of game? Hopefully, it will be a snapshot of what this club is going to be doing in the future."

Derby have lost their last six FA Cup meetings with United stretching back to 1897, when the Red Devils were still known as Newton Heath.

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