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HERE'S LOOKING AT YOU: Sheffield Wednesday

We take a close look at this weekend's Emirates FA Cup third round opponents

5 January 2018

There’s another break from Sky Bet League Two action for the Blues this weekend as they welcome Sheffield Wednesday in the FA Cup third round.

After beating Gillingham in a replay, Keith Curle’s men will now take on the Championship side as they bid to reach the fourth round for the second time in three years.

But Wednesday will be keen for a victory themselves as they seek a turnaround in fortunes following some disappointing results of late.

We cast our eye over the Owls ahead of their visit to Brunton Park:

One In Ten

Wednesday have won just one of their last ten games in all competitions – a run of form that saw Carlos Carvahal lose his job with the Owls currently perched in 16th and just six points above the Championship drop zone.

Their last triumph came on Boxing Day as they beat Nottingham Forest 3-0, with Carvalhal sacked shortly after.

But the dismissal of the Portuguese manager hasn’t seen results improve with disappointing defeats to Brentford and Burton in their last two outings.

Caretaker boss Lee Bullen will be hoping that this FA Cup tie can offer some relief for his side, who look in desperate need of a win.

Familiar Faces

There’s a few common links between the two sides, with Wednesday stopper Keiren Westwood perhaps the most obvious.

The Irish goalkeeper spent four years at Brunton Park at the start of his career as he quickly became a fans’ favorite between the sticks, and he seems to now be thought of similarly well by the Owls’ faithful.

In the United camp, midfielder Mike Jones played for Wednesday for six months in 2012.

Signed from Bury, Jones made just six appearances for the Owls before moving on to join Crawley Town at the end of the 2011/12 campaign.

What Does History Tell Us?

United have fared rather well in their meetings with Wednesday over recent years, triumphing in three of the last five meetings between the two sides.

The last time the two sides faced off was in April 2012 as both teams chased the League One play-off places – Wednesday were victorious thanks to a late Michail Antonio winner after James Berrett had cancelled out a Chris Lines opener.

Over history form has been mixed, with Wednesday claiming ten victories to United’s eight, while nine games have ended in draws.

Goals Galore

Meetings between the two sides this millennium have produced their fair share of goals, with 17 scored in six meetings – meaning there’s been an average of just shy of three goals per game.

The highest-scoring encounter came in October 2011 when United beat Wednesday 3-2 in a five-goal thriller at Brunton Park.

Lee Miller, Rory Loy and Liam Noble got the goals for the Blues as former United man Gary Madine was sent-off.

Ones to Watch

+ Glenn Loovens – The club captain at Hillsborough, Loovens has now made over 100 appearances for the Owls since joining from Real Zaragoza. Formerly of Celtic and Cardiff City among others, the experienced centre back has become a key part of the Owls’ backline and has been a regular this season.

+ Ross Wallace – A set-piece specialist, Wallace made the move to South Yorkshire in July 2015 after leaving Burnley. In his two years at Hillsborough, the Scot has helped Wednesday to two consecutive play-off campaigns and has scored 11 goals in 93 appearances. The midfielder, who can play out wide or centrally, will also contribute plenty of assists to the side and will need to be watched carefully at Brunton Park this weekend.

+ Jordan Rhodes – A big-money signing from Middlesbrough in last year’s January transfer window, Rhodes has netted four times in 23 appearances this season as he has led Wednesday’s front line. Having burst onto the scene during a prolific spell at Huddersfield Town, the striker has also represented Blackburn Rovers during a career which has seen goals wherever he has been. A threat in and around the area, United will need to keep an eye on him.

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