Can cup bring cheer to beleaguered Owls?

Sheffield Wednesday can put their league troubles to one side this weekend as they face Hereford in the 4th round of the F.A. Cup at Hillsborough on Saturday.

The Owls will be without new striker Gary Madine for the tie as the frontman has already featured for Carlisle in this season’s competition and is therefore cup tied. Influential midfielder Tommy Miller looks set to be side-lined for a month with a hamstring injury and will miss out but Giles Coke made an encouraging return in the centre of the park in midweek and should retain his place.

Defender Lewis Buxton didn’t feature in the midweek draw with Yeovil having limped out of his return from a hamstring injury at half-time during last weekend’s defeat at Leyton Orient. He is thought to be back in contention but it may be wiser for him to sit this one out. Fellow defender Jon Otsemobor remains unavailable due to injury and young midfielder Liam Palmer also misses out.

Hereford travel to Hillsborough without first choice left back Ryan Valentine and reserve goalkeeper Daniel Connor. Both have been out for prolonged spells with hip injuries and remain on the side-lines.

The Bulls will be without top scorer Mathieu Manset who joined Reading last week and manager Jamie Pitman could well stick with the same side that won 2-1 against Morecambe on Tuesday evening. That would mean full-back Ryan Green, who played 4 games on loan for the Owls in the 2002/03 season would have to settle for a place on the bench.

Former Wednesday midfielder Kenny Lunt is expected to line up against his old club in the heart of Hereford’s midfield.

Wednesday’s only victory in their last 6 matches came at Bristol City in the previous round. They have drawn their last 2 home games but have been shaky at the back recently having conceded 8 goals in their last 3 games.

Hereford may sit precariously close to the League 2 drop zone but they have been on fine form of late winning their last 5 matches in succession.  

The two sides have not met for over 30 years, with the Owls winning the last encounter 1-0 at Hereford in division 3 in 1978. Wednesday won the only F.A. Cup tie between the two sides to date.