Manchester United face a “typically” tough challenge as they seek to take another step towards a second successive FA Cup final, after yet again being pitted against Barclays Premier League opponents in the last eight.
Alex Ferguson’s men will face Portsmouth at home following yesterday’s draw - while Bristol Rovers will play West Brom, cup-holders Chelsea take on Barnsley and Sheffield United or Middlesbrough will host Cardiff.
United have already had to overcome Aston Villa, Tottenham and Arsenal to reach the quarter-finals – and played six top-flight sides in last season’s competition, including Portsmouth.
An unperturbed and apparently unsurprised Ferguson told his club’s website, www.manutd.com: “It’s a home draw, so it doesn’t matter who you get. But it’s typical that we have another Premier League team.
“The good thing about the FA Cup, though, is that the opposition bring an increased number of supporters – which makes for a great atmosphere.
“We’ve had two great home ties against Spurs and Arsenal in the previous rounds, and I hope we’ll have another one against Portsmouth.”
Barnsley manager Simon Davey believes facing Chelsea at home is a “good reward” for beating Liverpool on Saturday.
“I’m very pleased – it’s fantastic to draw Chelsea at home. We wanted a home tie, and to get Chelsea is brilliant,” he told Sky Sports News.
“In the last round against Liverpool, 6,000 Barnsley fans came to Anfield - now we can fill our stadium against another fantastic, world-class team. It’s a good reward for beating Liverpool in the last round.“
Davey is well aware of the big-name match-winners Chelsea possess.
“I think there’s a few – Frank Lampard, John Terry, Joe Cole – there are endless names from Chelsea that are going to give us nightmares,” he said.
“We’ve got to concentrate on the league now, but it’s a fantastic draw for us and we can’t wait for it.“
The ties will be played on the weekend of March 8 and 9 and the winners will be going to Wembley as both semi-finals are to be played at the national stadium.
Blades boss Kevin Blackwell admits his side face an “ideal quarter-final draw” – against Cardiff – if they can overcome Middlesbrough in their replay.
He said: “To get a home draw and avoid the big guns in the quarter-final is ideal. But Gareth Southgate and I both know that we’ve got to get past each other first, and it goes without saying that's not going to be easy.“
The fifth-round replay with Middlesbrough will take place a week tomorrow.
Bristol Rovers, the only Coca-Cola League One side left in the competition, can look forward to their first quarter-final tie in 50 years.
First-team coach Paul Trollope said on Sky Sports News: “We know the teams everyone looks for when the draw comes out. But it’s a home tie, and we’re in decent form at home. It’s one we’re looking forward to.”