READING FC will have a ‘free hit’ against Manchester United when they clash at Old Trafford in Saturday’s FA Cup third round (12.30pm ko, live BT Sport).

Boss Jose Gomes admits there will be no pressure on Royals when they take on the Premier League giants in a repeat of the 2017 third-round tie which Reading lost 4-0.

Royals have not won in 10 league matches and are five points adrift if safety in the Championship relegation zone.

Meanwhile, United are enjoying a revival under interim boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer who has won all four top-flight games since the departure of Jose Mourinho.

Gomes admitted: “It’s a different game and we cannot compare the teams.

“Anything can happen in cup games and we must try and enjoy it.

“We are not under pressure to win the game.

“The most important thing is that it’s a game without any kind of pressure for us and my players must enjoy it, they cannot be scared.

“They are football players, so play football.”

Gomes is likely to tinker with his team with fit-again Liam Moore, Callum Harriott, Danny Loader, Jon Dadi Bodvarsson and Liam Kelly all pushing for recalls, while Chris Gunter faces a late fitness test.

And Gomes admitted he was impressed with the impact his substitutes made in the 4-1 defeat by Swansea City on New Year’s Day.

“All the players who came off the bench did good things,” he stated. “Jon Dadi Bodvarsson and Callum Harriott gave positive things so we are happy with their performance. Now we need to recover and prepare.

“Every match is a good opportunity for player to show what they can do and this is another chance.

"It is a special game away against a very strong Manchester United who are playing under a different dynamic.

“The players look more comfortable playing like they are now, so it will be a very tough game for us.

“But it’s a football game so anything can happen. We can see a small light of hope that we can do something good, play good football and see.”

Solskjaer this week confirmed that immediately after Saturday’s cup tie he will fly his United squad out to Dubai for warm-weather training.

Reading also played Sir Alex Ferguson's Manchester United at Old Trafford in an FA Cup fifth-round clash in February 2013 when Brian McDermott's Royals lost 2-1.