Sunday will see 9,000 Leeds United fans descend on Old Trafford for the first time since 2004. In those six years that’s passed, the fortunes of the teams have been contrasting to say the least. Whilst Manchester United have been successful in both Europe and domestically, Leeds plummeted to the third division and have struggled to escape the ghosts of our debts.

Things are looking brighter now for Leeds however who lead League One by eight points with a game in hand on second placed Charlton Athletic. Hopefully free of our problems and on the road back to the Premiership, the upcoming FA Cup clash provides an early setting for renewed rivalry.

Arguably Leeds’ most important player, Robert Snodgrass is in a confident mood ahead of the tie telling the BBC that;

“We’ve shown on numerous occasions that we can compete with higher standard teams. “In the Carling Cup this season we beat Watford and gave Liverpool a good game before losing 1-0.

“And you don’t have to try to get yourself motivated for a trip to Old Trafford – everyone is raring to go.”

Snoddy goes on to say that the rivalry is up there with that of the Old Firm in Glasgow, but Leeds will approach the tie as ‘just another game’.

Meanwhile, Alex Ferguson has also been talking about the rivalry and said he believes Leeds United are now on the up;

“We don’t need to spell out what Sunday’s game means to the Manchester United fans.

“There have been some fantastically feisty occasions over the years. And there was always a tinge of hostility.

“We always told the players to make sure they behaved properly on the pitch because we didn’t need to add to the problems off it.

“Leeds are bringing 9,000 fans, so it will be a busy day for the police. But it will be an absolutely brilliant atmosphere and should be a good cup tie as well.

“I used to enjoy the rivalry. It makes you perform.

“We had some great games at Leeds. The atmosphere was always electric and our record was pretty good.”

“…They will not be too far away from the Premier League in the next couple of years,”

“When you look at the position they are in at the moment in League One, they look certain to be in the Championship next year.

“And with the motivation and drive that is coming from the manager, they have a great chance of going further.

“Simon Grayson is a local boy himself, as well being a former player. Some people have targets in life. He has reached his and his team are not letting him down.”

The last time the War of the Roses clash took place was at Old Trafford in 2004 where the game ended deadlocked at 1-1. Alan Smith equalised for Leeds United that day before Ruud van Nistlerooy missed an absolute sitter to earn Leeds a point.

I think it’s fair to say that most Leeds United fans would be happy with a similar result and a replay at Elland Road.