Wednesday out to banish Etihad nightmare
Sheffield Wednesday’s fans and players will still be having nightmares about their capital One Cup tie at the Etihad earlier this season when, after holding the Premier League champions at bay for 45 minutes, they conceded seven goals in a crazy second half which also saw Kamil Zayatte red-carded.
Owls’ fans were quite confident travelling over the Pennines on that occasion and plenty will be making the trek across the tops for this FA Cup tie as well – surely it can’t be as bad this time!
You don’t quite know what you are going to get from Wednesday at the moment. They only ended an horrendous run at home to struggling Wigan at the end of November but then won at Blackburn.
After another two defeats, they then beat Wigan again in their final match of 2014. But Stuart Gray’s squad looks as though it’s down to the bare bones.
Neither Lewis McGugan nor Royston Drenthe can play as their parent clubs try to work out their long-term future and skipper Glenn Loovens is a major doubt.
The Dutch centre-back will have a late fitness test but it’s unlikely that the manager will turn to Zayatte as a replacement as he’s hardly figured lately and is set to miss a few weeks playing for his country in the Africa Cup Of Nations after Saturday.
Claude Dielna could play at centre-back but that would probably mean Jeremy Helan filling in at left-back as Joe Mattock is another likely absentee.
Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has problems of his own as he’s still without leading strikers Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko as well as captain Vincent Kompany.
His team are conceding far too many goals, four in their last two against Premier League strugglers Burnley and Sunderland, but he got 70 minutes out of Stevan Jovetic against the Wearsiders and Joe Hart and James Milner are likely to return against Wednesday along with Frank Lampard.
There are no real expectations on Wednesday for this one but they’ll have to make the most of their chances if they are going to pull off an upset.
City may be too strong again but the Owls can put up more resistance this time with the home team priced up at 27/10 to win by two goals. Four total goals is 19/5.
The match kicks off at 3.00pm on Sunday, January 4th at the Etihad.