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Club News

Cup half full

2 January 2014

 

Stuart Gray is eagerly anticipating Saturday’s FA Cup trip to non-league Macclesfield Town and will drill into his players the prospect of the Owls becoming a prized scalp.

 

Gray has engineered a tangible Championship revival since taking the managerial reins on a temporary basis, posting three wins and two draws from his seven games in charge so far.

 

Attention now turns to the cup and Gray is fully focused on progression to round four.

 

He said: “I love the FA Cup and everything it stands for. I think any football club welcomes a cup run and the most important thing is being in the hat for the next round when the draw is made on Sunday.

 

“There’s also the excitement of the draw, will there be a big team at home in the next round, and Macclesfield will be thinking exactly the same thing.

 

“More often than not it’s one of the top four teams that win it but as Wigan showed last season, there is an underdog that can get through and lift the cup.

 

“Our focus now is fully on Macclesfield and them not causing an upset. This is what is typically known in the FA Cup as a banana skin and we have to make sure we avoid it.”

 

Wednesday will take the short hop to Cheshire without Roger Johnson and Connor Wickham, both of whom have been stand-out performers during the recent uplift in fortunes.

 

Johnson has completed his temporary stint with the Owls – talks continue regarding an extension – while fellow loanee Wickham has not been granted permission to play in the cup by parent club Sunderland.

 

But although Gray would rather have his squad swelled with such quality, he maintains that as one door closes, others duly open.

 

He said: “Obviously you would have the likes of Roger and Connor in your team and they have been outstanding for us of late.

 

“But they will not be with us on Saturday and that gives two more players the chance to claim the shirt.

 

“This is a squad game and when you get your chance, you have to be ready to take it.

 

“We will be putting out a strong team, there is no question of that, because we want to go as far as we can in one of the best competitions in the football world.”


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