It’s that time of year again, the FA Cup first round weekend. A major date in the lower league football calendar.
This is a weekend for the underdog; the cup shock, and the headline makers. However not all ties are involving non-league sides.
Wednesday boss Darren Moore will be able to call upon Theo Corbeanu, after the loanee from Wolverhampton Wanderers confirmed he will be staying at the club for the season. The game will come too early for both Liam Waldock and Sam Hutchinson however, as they recover from their respective injuries. Although Massimo Luongo and George Byers have a 50/50 chance of playing a part.
In the other camp, Plymouth manager Ryan Lowe has a trio of players close to returning from long-term injuries. James Bolton, George Cooper and Niall Ennis are all making great progress, but none will be ready for this weekend. Lowe has stated that he will certainly pick a ‘very strong’ team for the game, not taking the competitions importance for granted.
(3-4-1-2) Wildsmith, Palmer, Dunkley, Johnson, Paterson, Byers, Dele-Bashiru, Corbeanu, Bannan, Kamberi, Berahino
(3-5-2) Cooper, Wilson, Scarr, Galloway, Edwards, Camara, Randell, Mayor, Grant, Hardie, Jephcott
Sheffield Wednesday are spending their first season in the third tier for nine years, and fans will be wanting an immediate return to the EFL Championship. But just six wins from their opening 16 matches sees them sat in eighth place, far lower than they’d expect to be at this stage. However, an impressive 3-0 win over promotion rivals Sunderland in midweek shows that these players do indeed have the capabilities to succeed against strong opposition.
Meanwhile, Plymouth have been League One’s surprise package this season, tipped to consolidate at best, they instead find themselves second in the table and aiming for promotion. A 2-0 loss to Rotherham United on the opening day of the season was the last and only time Argyle tasted defeat in the league, having gone on a 15 game unbeaten run since. A 2-1 win over Ipswich Town saw them claim their ninth win of the season last weekend, form they will be aiming to take into their cup campaign.
One to watch
The teenage forward has been a versatile player since his arrived at Wednesday from Wolves, playing both up front and out wide. However he has found first-team football hard to come by since his arrival, with fans certainly wanting to see more of him. There were even rumours that the Canada international would be recalled by his parent club due to a lack of playing time. But Corbeanu himself has expressed his intention to stay after gaining his first league start in their midweek win over the Black Cats. He could prove to be a real asset to the club, and will likely make a second straight start on Sunday.
These sides have already met in the league this season, with Plymouth running out comfortable 3-0 winners, so Wednesday will be out for revenge on Sunday. The Pilgrims had won the two previous meetings as well, with the South Yorkshire outfit not tasting victory against their opponents since January 2010, when both sides were in the second tier. They have not met in the FA Cup since 1968, with the Owls winning 3-0, a result they will be hoping to replicate here.
For fans that can’t attend the game in Sheffield, the match will be available to watch on ITV at 12:15 (GMT). With the highlights available by the end of the day at the latest.
What the managers have said
Wednesday manager Darren Moore spoke to the local press, expressing his love for the competition. He said:
“In terms of messages for the boys, we want more of the same. Of course every game gives you different problems, but in terms of mentality we want more of the same.
“I love the FA Cup, it means a lot to us. It’s a really important game for us on Sunday. It will be a wonderful occasion live on TV and we’re really looking forward to it.”
In the other dugout, Plymouth boss Ryan Lowe echoed a similar love for the cup to the club’s media. He said:
“The FA Cup means a lot to me in terms of when I was a player, and now as a manger.
“It’s going to be an exciting game against Sheffield Wednesday, who are in decent enough form. So we know it isn’t going to be easy.”