LONDON - Leeds United's victory at Manchester United gave their fans a taste of the stage they feel their club should still be playing on, and tomorrow's FA Cup fourth-round tie at Tottenham Hotspur offers a juicy second bite.
The fourth-round draw was short on blockbuster ties but the clash between a club still climbing off the canvas after a spectacular fall from grace since reaching the Champions League semifinal in 2001, and one with a massive Cup pedigree, will guarantee an old-fashioned atmosphere at White Hart Lane.
Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp, whose side lost 2-0 at Liverpool on Wednesday, can never be accused of taking the Cup lightly and will have his sights set on a May afternoon at Wembley.
"Cup final day is the best day of the year for me," Redknapp, who won the competition with Portsmouth in 2008, told www.thefa.com.
"When I was growing up, everyone looked forward to watching the Cup final."
With Jermaine Beckford's goal having dispatched 11-time winners United and seven-time winners Liverpool humbled by Reading, two of English football's big four have already bitten the dust. Chelsea and Arsenal will not be taking anything for granted either, as they face testing away ties.
Arsenal are away at Stoke City on Sunday, while Chelsea travel to Championship (second division) Preston North End tomorrow.
"It gives you a better chance with two of the big guns out," Redknapp said. "But I know just how hard it's going to be. Leeds were fantastic that day at Manchester United, their work rate and the way they played, they looked more like a Premier League team than a League One team."
Leeds's joy at beating United was tempered by slip-ups against Wycombe Wanderers and Exeter City but they have been boosted by the news that the prolific Beckford is staying at Elland Road, despite interest from Everton.
Portsmouth face Sunderland and Everton host Birmingham City in the other all-Premier League ties. The competition's lowest-placed survivors, League Two (fourth division) Accrington Stanley, have a dream tie at home to top-flight Fulham. - Reuters