Preview: SWFC v City
Owls boss Brian Laws will be going head-to-head against former Nottingham Forest team-mate Stuart Pearce, eager to help Wednesday progress in the FA Cup and cause one of the shocks of the round against an improved City side at Hillsborough on Sunday.
Wednesday haven't had the best of results in the prestigious competition of late, or against City, but the Owls improved form over Christmas will give the Laws' men the belief they can cause an upset and sent 6000 City fans home out of the FA Cup.
Steve Maclean told the official SWFC site:
'It will be good to test ourselves against a Premiership outfit and all the boys will be looking forward to it. They have a good support and our support is fantastic so it will be a cracking atmosphere, it's also a Sunday game which adds a bit more to it. I'm sure it will be a really hard game but I think we have enough in our dressing room to try and get a result.
'You'd have taken seven points from the Christmas period had you been offered them in advance. But we went into the Hull game looking to pick three points up and it was a disappointing end, after going into the game flying. I'm sure we can pick up from that bad result and take our league form into the cup.'
Wednesday Team News:
The biggest blow for Brian Laws will be the suspension of defender Madjid Bougherra after the Algerian international picked up his fifth booking of the season in the 2-1 victory over Stoke on Boxing Day.
Bougherra has been one of the performers of the season for Wednesday and has been tipped as a future Premiership star. Laws has identified Graham Coughlan as the perfect replacement for Bougherra, but the pace of the City attack is sure to cause the Owls defence all kinds of problems.
Wednesday will also be without winger Wayne Andrews after the 29-year-old returned to Coventry City after Micky Adams refused to extend his loan deal at Hillsborough until the end of the campaign.
And with Wade Small not yet back to fully fitness it looks as though either Yoann Folly or Marcus Tudgay will revert to a position on the right side of midfield. Moving Folly to the right didn't work against Stoke, so Laws cold well use Tudgay on the right and allow Maclean and Burton to partner in attack.
Good news for Wednesday is the news that Mark Crossley has completed his loan paperwork in time and will be eligable to play against City. Crossley has been a key figure in the Owls' upturn in fortunes and his experience will be priceless on Sunday.
Player to watch: Chris Brunt
Brunt has come on leaps and bounds this season and is another one of the Owls' top performers tipped to shine in the Premiership in the coming seasons. And the Northern Irish international will be keen to prove his worth against Premiership opposition and add to his impressive tally of eight goals this season.
Manchester City Team News:
Stuart Pearce will also be missing a key player for his City team in the form of in-demand midfielder Joey Barton. The Scouse midfielder, who has been linked with numerous Premiership clubs in the January transfer window, is serving the final match of his three-game ban for a sending off.
But Trevor Sinclair and Sun Jihai could both return to bolster the City midfield ahead of the clash and both will undergo late fitness tests. Jihai has been out with a hamstring injury this season while Sinclair has missed the last two months through a knee injury.
Stephen Ireland is the most likely candidate to return to the side after the youngster recovered from a hamstring injury and has declared himself fit for the trip across the Pennines.
Player to watch: Micah Richards
The City defender has had a fantastic season so far, earning his first call-up for England and proving his worth in the City by attracting the interest of teams such as Chelsea in the January transfer window. Richards should still be at City for the trip to Hillsborough on Sunday and could be used in a midfield role.
Match Facts & Stats
Last Time Out:
City 4-0 WEDNESDAY
27th February 2002 - Maine Road
There was no stopping Kevin Keegan's high-flying City as they put in a fabulous four against a struggling Owls side at the last match at Maine Road between the two sides. Kevin Horlock, Shaun Goater, Darren Huckerby and Eyal Berkovic got the goals for City as Wednesday looked dangerously over their shoulders at the bottom three spots.
SWFC wins: 42
MCFC wins: 33
Wednesday: Crossley, Simek, Bougherra, Bullen, Spurr (O'Brien 78), Lunt (Andrews 55), Folly, Whelan, Brunt, Tudgay (MacLean 46), Burton.
Subs Not Used: Adamson, Coughlan.
City: Weaver, Onuoha, Dunne, Distin, Trabelsi (Miller 85), Richards, Dabo, Beasley, Jordan, Corradi (Samaras 46), Vassell.
Subs Not Used: Isaksson, Dickov, Matthew Mills.
Latest Form - Last 5:
Vs Derby County (A) - 13/01/07
Vs Sunderland (H) - 20/01/07
Vs Southampton (A) - 31/01/07