Sheffield Wednesday: Owls chief can’t wait for City tie

Owls chairman Milan Mandaric
Owls chairman Milan Mandaric
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Chairman Milan Mandaric is relishing the challenge of Sheffield Wednesday locking horns with reigning Premier League champions Manchester City in the third round of the Capital One Cup tomorrow.

Owls head to City, the holders of the competition, looking to stretch their unbeaten away run to six matches.

More than 5,000 supporters will cheer on Wednesday at the Etihad Stadium and Mandaric is convinced they can give Manuel Pellegrini’s star studded side a scare.

He told The Star: “It should be a special game. We’ve got a big number of supporters going.

“It’s special for them. They are probably dying to see the team play against big clubs every week.

“That’s why I think one day it would be total reward for them to see the club back into the Premier League so they can see them week in week out.

“We won’t let them down. We will give everything we can go take the game to City. We’ve got nothing to lose, we will go there with confidence, enthusiasm and give them a proper game.”

Hafiz Mammadov’s proposed takeover of the Championship club broke down over a fortnight ago and Mandaric admits it is unlikely a deal with the Azerbaijani businessman will be resurrected.

He said: “It would take a very big explanation and an apology from Mr Mammadov and then at that time I would still assess the situation. Right now, we are going on our own.”

In the statement he issued earlier this month, Mandaric accused Mammadov of failing to “meet the obligations set out in the contract”. These obligations included both Mammadov’s share purchase and payment for the ‘Azerbaijan: Land of Fire’ sponsorship deal, which this newspaper understands Wednesday have no plans to change.

Mandaric has instructed his lawyers to consider legal action against Mammadov, who owns Azerbaijan side FC Baku and French top-flight club RC Lenss.

The Owls chief, meanwhile, remains on the lookout for a potential new investor.

He said: “If somebody emerges and shows tremendous desire and capability to take this club quickly further than I can, I will be more than happy to step out for the benefit of everyone. It’s got to be the right thing for everybody; the buyer, seller, the club and supporters. Everyone has to be happy.

“This is a special club. There are a lot of people who are looking and seeing possibilities. I don’t have anyone who I can report at this time who is serious because all my energy and concentration is to make sure we go in the right direction.

“There is nothing tangible. There have been some light conversations and interest from abroad. There will always be some people interested but how far they will go is a different kettle of fish.”