Five days to the weekend

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The best sporting action this week.


ON the football front there’s Scottish Cup action tonight with both Cowdenbeath and St Johnstone and Dumbarton and Hamilton hoping to stage their oft-postponed fourth-round ties, while Morton and Turriff United clash in a fourth-round replay. In England, Reading host Arsenal in the Barclays Premier League where victory for the home side would heap further pressure on Arsene Wenger. In Nagpur, the fourth and final Test between India and England will draw to a close, while in London, the Olympia Horse Show gets under way.


TONIGHT sees action in the Irn-Bru Second and Third Divisions. In the Second it’s Albion Rovers v Forfar and East Fife v Stranraer, the hosts in the latter looking to build on their weekend win at Ayr. In the Third Annan travel to Ibrox for the first time to take on leaders Rangers. In England, Brighton face Millwall in the npower Championship and in the FA Cup second round it’s Barrow v Macclesfield and Notts County v Rotherham in a second-round replay. There’s racing at Catterick, Folkestone and Lingfield.


BEATEN Club World Cup finalists Chelsea are back in domestic action as they travel to face Leeds United at Elland Road in the quarter-finals of the Capital One Cup. Chelsea boss Rafa Benitez is hoping to pick up some silverware before the end of the season in a bid to build bridges between himself and the hostile Stamford Bridge support, so the Premier League side will not be taking this tricky tie lightly. In the Irn-Bru Division Three, East Stirlingshire host Montrose. There’s racing at Kempton, Lingfield, Ludlow and Newbury.


ANTICIPATION will be high for Celtic and their fans as they await the draw for the Champions League round of 16, which is due to begin at 10.30am in Nyon. The other British clubs in the hat are Manchester United and Arsenal, with United among the sides Neil Lennon’s team could face. The draws for the Europa League rounds of 32 and 16 are also due to take place. In Pune, the first Twenty20 international between India and England gets under way, while there’s racing at Exeter, Kempton, Lingfield and Towcester.


THE annual festive rugby double-header between Glasgow and Edinburgh kicks off at Scotstoun, with the RaboDirect PRO12 clashes doubling up as home-and-away 1872 Cup ties. The evening’s other fixtures are Cardiff v Scarlets and Ulster v Leinster. In the Aviva Premiership it’s Worcester v London Welsh. There’s also Friday night SPL football on the bill with St Mirren hosting Motherwell, while in England Blackpool take on Wolves in the npower Championship and Hull travel to Derby. In cricket, South Africa take on New Zealand in Durban in their opening Twenty20 international.