Fixture pile-up threatens to wreck Owls aspirations

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It WASN’T a weekend to celebrate for Sheffield in the FA Cup with neither team progressing to the fifth round, where the competition really begins to heat up.

United were beaten at home by Championship high-fliers Birmingham City. Danny Wilson will have been disappointed with the result but in fairness, City are playing some great football at the moment and I wouldn’t be too surprised to see them be promoted back up to the Premiership come May.

Wednesday will have certainly been the happier of the two Sheffield clubs with their draw away at Ian Holloway’s Blackpool but adding another game to an already congested fixture list could come back to hurt Gary Megson’s men. The Owls took the lead thanks to an exquisite finish by Clinton Morrison but Kevin Phillips made it 1-1 late on from the penalty spot.

The issue of a fixture build up has already cost Wednesday a couple of points when they played on Tuesday night and could only manage a 1-1 draw against the MK Dons.

It was an interesting encounter with Dons boss, Karl Robinson, and Owls defender, Reda Johnson, getting involved in a bust up that saw Robinson being sent to the stands and Johnson laid out on the floor.

At the end of the game, a furious Megson said: “Reda said their manager has put his hands on his throat. You don’t touch players - you certainly don’t touch mine!”

Moving on, the transfer window closed on Tuesday night, ending a low-key month of activity. Both teams added to their squads in the late stages with Megson signing Tottenham youngster John Bostock on loan for the rest of the season while United have signed Will Hoskins from Brighton. Time will tell whether these moves will have any significant bearing on either team and their potential promotion tilts.

Both players will be looking to make an impact on Saturday. Wednesday take on Yeovil Town at Hillsborough. Gary Johnson’s men are down in 17th spot in the league and have exactly half the points of Wednesday after 28 games. With a stat like that, it will be no surprise that the home side are odds on for the win at 4/9, with Yeovil 6/1 outsiders to come away with three points.

United head to Colchester, a solid mid-table side who have picked up four points from a possible 12 in January. Despite their hammering last week, I still fancy United for the win and have priced them at 5/4, with the home side at 12/5.

Former Blades boss Neil Warnock is 8/13 odds on favourite to become the new Leeds United manager following Simon Grayson’s dismissal. Roberto Di Matteo and Gus Poyet are also in contention for the job.

The big game of the weekend has to be Chelsea v Man United on Sunday. Fergie’s men are coming off the back of a comfortable 2-0 home win against Stoke, thanks to two penalities, whereas Chelsea could only manage a draw in Wales against Swansea. I think AVB and his team are already out of the race for the title but they definitely will be if they can’t beat United at the Bridge.

The away side are slight favourites at just less than 2s (15/8) and you can get 8/5 on Lampard, Terry and co to do a job. I hope it’s not but you can get great value at 10s on a 0-0.

All these odds and many more are available at my new website,