NEWCASTLE UNITED midfielder Nicky Butt has been handed a reunion with Birmingham City in the third round of the FA Cup.

And Butt will not be the only man reacquainting himself with former employers in the new year after the North-East's other two remaining teams in the competition were handed Championship tests.

Former Middlesbrough midfielder Nicky Barmby has the opportunity to take on the club he left a decade ago with his hometown club, Hull City, on the weekend of January 6/7.

The Tigers, struggling at the wrong end of English football's second tier, will host Boro at the KC Stadium for the first time in competitive action and under the tutelage of Teessider Phil Parkinson.

Parkinson, provided he stays in the job he accepted in the summer after leaving Colchester United, hails from Stockton and was a regular at Ayresome Park as a teenager. He will be relishing the opportunity to pit his wits against a club whose results he still follows.

There could also be an interesting meeting at Deepdale where Sunderland - who lost 4-1 in the league there earlier in the campaign - will be out for revenge.

And if Black Cats boss Roy Keane allows midfielder Tommy Miller to make his loan move a permanent arrangement on January 1 then there is every chance he will take on his former club for the first time.

Miller is due back at the Stadium of Light when his temporary agreement expires at the end of the year and, although there has been no long term decision made on his future a yet, he could move to Lancashire full-time.

And with Butt likely to be involved at St Andrews - where he was abused by fans during last season's ill-fated relegation campaign - there promises to be plenty of twists in the third round of the FA Cup for this region's leading three clubs.

Hartlepool's conquerors on Saturday, Paul Ince's Macclesfield, have made defeat an even bitter pill to swallow for those at Victoria Park after being handed the trip to Premiership champions Chelsea.

While Swansea City, the side that overcame Darlington, also face top-flight opposition in the shape of Sheffield United.

There are also plenty other interesting meetings with Arsenal's visit to Liverpool particularly appealing and the all Premiership tie between Manchester United and Martin O'Neill's Aston Villa at Old Trafford.

Blackburn are away to Everton and Portsmouth host Wigan in the other Premier League ties.

Former England international Ince will take his team, bottom of the Football League, to Stamford Bridge to face the Blues.

''I've been on the phone to Frank Lampard and the banter has started already," revealed Ince.''

''I was buzzing, as a manager, to draw Chelsea but then I started thinking that I can play.

''I'm not too sure what the lads would think about me putting myself straight in for a game like that but it's something to think about!

'''This is a great draw for us but I've got to say that the main priority is for us to stay in the league.''

Conference South side Salisbury will host Premiership strugglers Charlton if they come through a tough replay away to Nottingham Forest, the sides having drawn in yesterday's televised tie.

Salisbury boss Nick Holmes said: ''We have got a little job to do in ten days' time (in the replay), it's certainly not going to be easy. Then we can talk about Charlton.''

Tamworth's reward for beating fellow Conference side Rushden & Diamonds is a home tie against Championship club Norwich at The Lamb.

Hereford were denied the chance to claim another big FA Cup scalp when they were drawn away to either Bristol Rovers or Bournemouth.

Tottenham, who have won the FA Cup eight times, face a tricky trip to Championship high-flyers Cardiff.

Aldershot or Basingstoke will travel to face League One side Blackpool.

Bolton will be wary of being on the wrong end of an upset, with a trip to either Mansfield or Doncaster to come.

It will be a busy weekend in Sheffield, with United at home to Swansea while Wednesday host Manchester City.

Fulham must go to the Walkers Stadium to take on Leicester.

The ties will be played on the weekend of January 6 and 7.