GARY Megson and Sam Allardyce are rivals in the same boat as they head towards the FA Cup third-round clash between Wednesday and West Ham.
Both are former Bolton bosses, both are currently managing teams who are second in their respective divisions, both will put the cup on the back-burner until next month, and both will be looking for January signings to strengthen their team’s promotion chances.
Megson’s overall view of the competition is that, while he wants to go as far possible in it, it must not impact on the league campaign and if it comes to a conflict of interests then the League One chase will come first.
Similarly, Allardyce has been expressing satisfaction with a haul of 22 points from the Hammers’ last 10 games, despite a 2-1 defeat by Burnley at the weekend, and is planning for a visit to Reading this Saturday.
Megson’s stance all along has been that it is always preferable to be at home but he takes whatever the cup draw offers.
Even before the third-round pairings were made, when it was possible that the Owls would be handed a glamorous tie against a Premier League outfit, he commented: “I’m a lot more concerned with our game at Oldham on Saturday.”
Megson almost succeeded Allardyce as Bolton manager in 2007.
Big Sam had left in April and his job went to Sammy Lee. But after a poor start to the 2007-08 season he was axed and Megson was brought in to lift the Trotters off the bottom of the table.
Megson inherited a squad that included Kevin Nolan - who joined West Ham from Newcastle earlier this year and last Saturday scored his sixth goal for the club.
At the Reebok Stadium, the current Owls boss also nurtured the career of Joey O’Brien, who has spent two loan spells at Hillsborough and was another Hammers import in the summer.
O’Brien has featured regularly for West Ham this season and played in the Burnley game last Saturday.
Megson brought him back to Hillsborough in March but he made only three starts and returned to Bolton early for treatment for an injury.
He was released by the Trotters at the end of the season and was signed by the Hammers in the summer after a trial with them.