Alan Biggs at Large: Half the job at the Etihad gives Owls hope

Manchester City's Frank Lampard wins the ball from Sheffield Wednesday's Giles Coke

Manchester City's Frank Lampard wins the ball from Sheffield Wednesday's Giles Coke

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There’s no getting away from it so you might as well bring it on. Manchester City 7 Sheffield Wednesday 0 was the inevitable soundtrack to the draw for the third round of the FA Cup.

It was laughed off at the time, of course. City paid due respect by fielding a celestial side for that Capital One Cup tie in September, Wednesday had a man sent off and, as the goals rained in, a huge away following was forced to sit back in admiration of the Premier League champions.

But what those fans will also remember is that - incredibly as it now seems - the score was 0-0 at half-time.

Wednesday, in fact, more than held their own in that opening period. Head coach Stuart Gray certainly hasn’t forgotten that, either, and it’s something on which to pin a degree of hope if not expectation. Gray knows how that shut-out was achieved and therefore has a fair idea how to reproduce it.

The key will obviously be for how long Wednesday can keep it goalless. Some claim that result knocked some of the early-season stuffing out of the Owls considering the dip that followed.

I don’t buy that as there was no disgrace considering the huge gulf in class. Better to focus on the belief that, in psychological terms, Wednesday can do themselves a huge amount of good by running City closer this time.

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