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United fan Hopcutt is dreaming of dumping out the Gunners

Incentive: Jamie Hopcutt is out to show Ostersund’s quality
Incentive: Jamie Hopcutt is out to show Ostersund’s quality

By Mark Staniforth

Manchester United fan Jamie Hopcutt has an extra incentive to help Ostersund write another chapter in their remarkable recent history by sinking Arsenal in the last 32 of the Europa League.

The Swedish minnows - managed by former York defender Graham Potter - have landed the two-legged showdown with the Gunners after making it through to the knockout stages for the first time.

And the draw could not have been better for former York player Hopcutt, an ex-Old Trafford season ticket holder who has swapped loan spells at Whitby and Stokesley for one of the continent's biggest competitions.

Hopcutt said: "I'm a big Man United fan - my granddad and dad both went and I had a season ticket for three years as a kid - so if we could go there and knock Arsenal out of Europe it would be amazing.

"We've had an incredible run this season and beaten teams like Galatasaray, Hertha Berlin and Athletic Bilbao, so we can go there with confidence. We're on a special journey at the moment and we don't want it to end."

Hopcutt took the brave decision to swap the non-league nether regions for Sweden six years ago, and his arrival coincided with a remarkable rise for Ostersund, whom Potter steered from the Swedish fourth division to the top-ranked Allsvenskan in six years.

Ostersund defender Ronald Mukiibi, meanwhile, hopes to quiz Arsene Wenger about some of his team selections.

Mukiibi is a lifelong Arsenal fan and had admitted before the draw that a match-up with the Gunners would realise his "dream".

He said: "I want to exchange a few words with Wenger and ask him why he sets his team up as he does. That would be fun.

"Maybe we can talk about my own future during the conversation? If I have a good match then..."

Recalling how he felt as he watched the draw unfold, the Swede said: "I started laughing. I sent messages to the guys while just yelling out. It's sick.

"We will play the team I've followed for my whole life. Who could have predicted it? It's a dream.

"In my opinion we're facing one of the best teams in the world, but we've played our best matches against the strongest opposition.

"Graham Potter can probably find some weaknesses in Arsenal and at home we are strong."

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