Sheffield Wednesday host Northampton Town at Hillsborough as the two clubs do battle for a place in the 3rd round of the F.A. Cup that brings with it the potential of a lucrative tie against one of the Premier League big boys. The Owls will go into the game as favourites against the League Two side but the Cobblers will not be overawed by this, having already taken the massive scalp of Liverpool at Anfield in the Carling Cup this season.
Full-back Lewis Buxton missed the midweek win against Walsall due to a hamstring injury but could be in contention to make a return. Fellow defender Jon Otsemobor is unlikely to have recovered from his calf injury in time to feature in this clash but midfielder Giles Coke could make a come back to face one of his former clubs. Since scoring against Rochdale Coke has missed the past two games through a combination of suspension and injury but he is thought to have overcome a slight knee injury.
With Marcus Tudgay having departed to Nottingham Forest on loan Paul Heffernan is the most likely option should boss Alan Irvine choose to rest either of his in form strikers, Neil Mellor and Clinton Morrison. Winger Jermaine Johnson could be in contention for a starting role as he looks to build up his match fitness after appearing as a substitute on Tuesday.
Northampton completed the loan signing of Leyton Orient striker Ryan Jarvis on Thursday and he has been cleared to play for Town in the F.A. Cup though he is unlikely to feature from the start.
Former Norwich City striker Leon McKenzie has six goals in twelve appearances for the club so far this season and he faces an assessment on a knee injury ahead of the tie at Hillsborough. Left-back Liam Davis could return to the side having completed a suspension in midweek.
Wednesday are in fine form and will be looking to make it six wins in succession in all competitions on Saturday. The Owls reached the 2nd Round of the F.A. Cup with a 5-2 win at non-league Southport and have scored 18 goals in the past 5 matches.
Despite their league cup exploits against Liverpool, Northampton are struggling in the league, down in 22nd place, in the relegation zone and just 3 points clear of the bottom. They lost six matches in succession last month but then revered to win three on the bounce but have not won in their last three games. They will however take encouragement from their fight back at Rotherham on Tuesday evening where they fell 2 goals down early on but levelled matter before half-time and went on to claim a valuable point. They also faced non-league opposition in the 1st round of the F.A. Cup, winning 3-0 at Forest Green.
The two sides have not faced each other for over 30 years with Wednesday recording a 2-0 win at Northampton in the 3rd division in 1977. The Owls have never lost to the Cobblers in 4 league meetings, winning 3 times but in the one time they have been drawn against each other in the F.A. Cup previously Northampton prevailed, winning 1-0 away after a 1st round replay a century ago in 1910.