Date:Friday January 6 2012
Sunday, January 8
Wednesday take a break from league action this weekend as Championship side West Ham United visit S6 in the third round of the FA Cup.
The Owls have defeated lower-league opposition in Morecambe and Aldershot to get to a clash with Sam Allardyce's Hammers but it will now be Gary Megson's men who are underdogs going into the clash.
That may well suit Wednesday. The Hammers are joint-top of the Championship and looking good for promotion. But Wednesday are unbeaten on home soil this season and sit second in League One, and in confident mood, going into Sunday's game.
Owls defender Jon Otsemobor told the Sheffield Star:
"Everybody wants to play in the FA Cup.
"And you look forward to playing against teams such as West Ham because they`re doing well in the Championship, they`re a big club; you want to test yourself against the best players, and they have quality players in their team.
"Whoever plays for us, we`ll be looking forward to it and looking forward to pitting our wits against them."
West Ham assistant manager Neil McDonald told the official Hammers website:
'It's still a boyhood dream for everybody who plays football to try to win the FA Cup. If you get to the final and are lucky enough to win it, it's a memory you can keep for the rest of your life.
'We've got a good chance. We've got Sheffield Wednesday away and we'll be doing our best to get into the next round.
'It's a proper football club and a proper stadium and the boys will be pleased to go there. It should be full, which would be great, and to play in front of a big crowd every week is what motivates the players. With it being the FA Cup, that should motivate them even more.'
Wednesday will be without star man Ben Marshall, who is still ineligible to play as part of his loan terms from parent club Stoke City.
The wing wizard is understood to be closing in on a new deal at Stoke, which would see him extend his stay at S6 until the end of the season, but that's yet to be completed.
Another loan player, Arsenal's Sanchez Watt, is also ineligible to play as part of terms of the deal with the Gunners, although Danny Batth, and now Stephen Bywater, who's signed a permanent deal, will be able to feature.
The Owls could be boosted with the return of captain Rob Jones. Jones has missed the last two games through a back injury but will be pushing for a recall against the Hammers.
Megson will have to decide who to field in attack, with Chris O'Grady, Clinton Morrison and Ryan Lowe all pushing for a starting role.
Should the Owls skipper return he'll be key in keeping the visitors out. West Ham have been known to play the ball long this season and Jones will need to be at the top of his game to keep the threat of the experienced Hammers front line at bay.
West Ham boss Sam Allardyce could shuffle his pack from the Hammers' usual league line-up.
Winston Reid, former Owl Joey O'Brien, Gary O'Neil and Sam Baldock have all recently returned from injury, illness or suspension in the New Year and will be pushing for starting roles at Hillsborough.
But Marek Stech (shoulder), Matt Taylor (calf), Abdoulaye Faye (calf) and Guy Demel (thigh) are expected to miss out through injury.
O'Brien enjoyed a loan spell with Wednesday earlier in his career from Bolton Wanderers and will no doubt be looking forward to returning to his former hunting ground - should he get the nod to start after returning to the Hammers' squad.
West Ham: W-L-D-W-L
Wednesday wins: 40
West Ham wins: 28
Last Time Out:
Wednesday 2-4 West Ham
Carling Cup, Hillsborough, 20/09/05
The Hammers stormed into a 3-0 lead thanks to a brace of goals from Bobby Zamora and a Christian Dailly strike. Graham Coughlan and David Graham pulled goals back for the Owls but David Bellion wrapped up the win for the visitors late on.
v Charlton Athletic (H) - 14/1/12
v Hartlepool United (H) - 21/1/12
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Date:Friday January 6 2012
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