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FA Cup: Boro set sights on Old Trafford upset

Middlesbrough will attempt to pull off a cup upset when they head to Old Trafford to face Manchester United in the fourth round of the FA Cup on Friday.

Boro entered the competition in the third round and they made hard work of seeing off League Two outfit Mansfield Town, as they were coasting towards a routine win after goals from Uche Ikpeazu and Caolan Boyd-Munce had them 2-0 ahead inside 14 minutes.

However, the Stags struck back twice in the second half and Boro needed a 95th-minute own goal to avoid an upset as they won 3-2 at the One Call Stadium.

United also had a difficult introduction to this season's competition, but they managed to earn a spot in round four after holding on for a 1-0 win at home to Aston Villa.

Boro are 4/1 to progress from Friday's 20:00 tie against 1/6 United.

Teessiders in decent form

Chris Wilder's side make the trip to Old Trafford in decent form, having lost just one of their last 10 across all competitions, and they are only outside of the Championship playoff places on goal difference.

United, 10/1 to lift the FA Cup this season and 1/1 to reach the final, are unbeaten in four and have only lost once since 20th November to climb up to fourth in the Premier League following the appointment of Ralf Rangnick.

The Red Devils hold the edge when it comes to the head-to-head record with Boro in the FA Cup, winning five, drawing three and losing just one.

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Boro looking to address recent record

The Teessiders haven't made it beyond the fourth round of the FA Cup in each of the last four seasons, failing to get past the third round on the last two occasions.

They did reach the quarter-finals in 2016-17, losing 2-0 to Manchester City, when they spent the season in the Premier League.

History suggests that Boro tend to perform better in the FA Cup when they are a top-flight club and that may be something to bear in mind ahead of Friday's outing.

The north east outfit have never won the historic competition but they did make it to the final in 1996-97 as a Premier League side, although they suffered relegation in that campaign.

The likes of Fabrizio Ravanelli and Juninho helped Bryan Robson's side to set up a Wembley showdown with Chelsea, but goals from Roberto Di Matteo and Eddie Newton consigned them to a 2-0 defeat.

They've not made it back to the final since that loss but they did make it to the semi-finals in 2002 and 2006 - both Premier League campaigns.

Success arrived in early noughties

Boro had a couple of near-misses in the League Cup in 1997 and 1998, losing in the final against Leicester City and Chelsea respectively, but a first major domestic trophy wasn't too far down the line.

Steve McClaren was the man to deliver as they overcame Brighton, Wigan, Everton, Tottenham, Arsenal and Bolton to win the League Cup in 2004.

That victory ended a 128-year wait for major silverware and came courtesy of goals from Joseph-Desire Job and Boudewijn Zenden to earn a 2-1 win against the Totters at the Millennium Stadium.

McClaren, who enjoyed five years at the helm, also led Boro to the final of the UEFA Cup in 2006, but they came up well short in a 4-0 defeat against Sevilla.

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