Does the FA Cup still matter?
In the modern era, many top-flight clubs field under-strength sides in the early rounds of the tournament.
Nowadays owners and managers are prioritising success in the league over reaching the latter stages of the competition. It is inevitable sides, including Sheffield Wednesday, will rest some of their top performers when the FA Cup returns this weekend.
“People don’t really appreciate it anymore,” former Wednesday midfielder John Sheridan told The Star.
It saddens Sheridan to question the relevance of the competition. After all, he was a key figure in the Owls making it through to the final of the FA Cup 23 years ago.
He said: “The FA Cup is one of the biggest competitions in the world. It is a massive competition and a great one to be involved in.
“It is the big sides prerogative to leave out players but I think it’s silly when they do that. If they don’t think it is worthwhile winning it, there’s something wrong with them.”
Wednesday, lying sixth in the Championship, head to League One Shrewsbury Town looking to reach the fifth round of the FA Cup for the second time in the last three years.
Sheridan, hoping to steer League One Oldham Athletic clear of relegation trouble, is thrilled to see his old club competing in the upper reaches of the second-tier.
“I’m chuffed to bits to see them doing well,” he said. “I always look out for their result and my lad is a big Wednesday fan.
“I have seen them a few times this season. The manager has come in and done a really good job. They look like they are playing really good football. I’m pleased that they are doing well and hopefully they will get to where they want to be come the end of the season.”
Although Wednesday occupy the final play-off position, Sheridan believes it will only help them if they continue to slip under the radar.
He said: “It is probably not a bad thing that people aren’t talking too much about them. They have just got to make sure they stay in the mix.”
One man in the current Owls squad who has been likened, in some quarters, to Sheridan is Barry Bannan. The Scotland international has been a relevation since arriving on a free-transfer from Crystal Palace. His outstanding performances prompted Wednesday to tie him down to a new long-term contract earlier this month.
Speaking during a question and answer session at Hillsborough last Thursday, Sheridan admits he is a big fan of the all-action midfielder.
“Barry is a good intelligent little footballer who keeps the ball well,” said Sheridan, who recently appointed Peter Shirtliff as his assistant manager. “He takes care of the ball well and, by all accounts, he has done well.
“Barry is the sort of player they need to get out of the division.”