Tomorrow night’s FA Cup 4th Round replay seems to have slipped under the radar somewhat following ‘Pool’s massive win in the league at the weekend.
Whilst people start whispering the phrase ‘automatic promotion’ following the npower Championship win over Cardiff, a replay at what will undoubtedly be a cold, yet noisy Hillsborough awaits Ian Holloway’s charges tomorrow night, with a tie away at Everton up for grabs.
To progress to Goodison Park however, the Seasiders will have to beat a Sheffield Wednesday side who have so far proved to be a bit of a bogey team for the Seasiders in the cups this season, having knocked them out of the Carling Cup on penalties in August and held them to a draw at Bloomfield Road last month in the FA Cup.
With both teams likely to make changes, it’s a difficult game to call, but there’s no doubting that a cup run would be nice… provided it doesn’t detract from our league form.
A Kevin Phillips penalty in the last minute of the first game at Bloomfield Road earned the Seasiders a replay against Gary Megson’s League One promotion chasers, and ‘Pool manager Ian Holloway has said that his team’s knack for scoring late on comes from a real self-belief and determination:
‘We don’t know when we are beaten. That is what got us up in the past and let’s hope we can keep going.
‘We were one down to Coventry (last Tuesday), who were bottom of the league, but we managed to show enough skill, determination and character to come back.’
Sheffield Wednesday Team News:
Captain Rob Jones may be available again after being sidelined through an ankle injury.
However, ex ‘Pool centre back Miguel Angel Llera, Mike Jones and John Bostock will all be in the stands due to being cup-tied.
Player to watch: Jermaine Johnson
It’s difficult to pick out a player to watch for the Owls as manager Gary Megson could easily make changes to his side as he looks to save his key players’ legs for their league campaign.
I’ve chosen Johnson on the basis that he’s an ex ‘Pool target (from the summer that we went into the Premier League) and the fact that he scored a great goal (from 30 yards) at the weekend as Wednesday came back from a goal down to beat Yeovil.
Blackpool Team News:
According to the Gazette, Keith Southern misses out after the four inch gash on his ankle picked up in the first game between the sides has failed to heal in time.
It is also believed that Roman Bednar is ineligible for the tie, having not been registered as a Seasiders player for the original game.
Brett Ormerod, Daniel Bogdanovic and Craig Sutherland are all cup tied.
Expect Ollie to make changes as he looks to save his side’s legs ahead of Saturday evening’s clash with Portsmouth (live on Sky); Mark Halstead, Bob Harris, Matt Hill, Neal Eardley, Angel Martinez, Ludovic Sylvestre, Gerardo Bruna, Tom Ince, Kevin Phillips and Lomano Tresor LuaLua are all pushing for starts.
Player to watch: Kevin Phillips
His world class volley pulled the Seasiders level on Saturday, and it was his goal that earned the Seasiders a replay.
In possibly his last season as a professional, Phillips still has the class to turn the tightest of games, and he’ll be determined to prove that he’s still got the midas touch in front of goal in front of the ESPN cameras.
Match Facts & Stats
Sheffield Wednesday have won 39 and lost 24 of their 78 competitive matches against Blackpool since 1921.
Blackpool’s journey to winning the FA Cup for the one and only time in their history began with a 2-1 win over Wednesday at Hillsborough in the third round in January 1953. The Seasiders lost their only previous meeting in the competition 4-1, also at Hillsborough, and in the third round, in January 1947.
Wednesday have avoided defeat in 16 of their last 18 league and cup outings, and have also won their last four FA Cup matches at home.
Gary Megson’s side qualified for the fifth round for the first time in 11 years last season. Victory will see two League One sides in the last 16, Stevenage have already qualified.
The Owls, who won the cup for the third and most recent time in 1935, are hoping to claim successive Championship scalps, having dismissed West Ham 1-0 in the third round at Hillsborough.
The Seasiders have not qualified for the fifth round in 22 years.
The 5-1 away victory over Fleetwood in the third round was the first time Blackpool avoided defeat on the road in five attempts in the FA Cup.
Ian Holloway’s men have won five and drawn two of their last seven in all competitions, and have lost one of 12 matches since the beginning of December.
Blackpool v Portsmouth (Saturday, 5.20pm, live on Sky)