Sheffield Wednesday: Monday move is ridiculous

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Stuart Gray tactfully avoided controversy by saying that the Owls just have to “get on with it” as they face two games in less than three days, writes Paul Thompson.

But I cannot see the logic in a rule that bars teams from playing in the FA Cup on the same night as European games.

I’m with Steve Bruce when he called it “ridiculous.”

Are Wednesday v Charlton and Hull v Brighton going to detract in from Olympiakos against Manchester United or Chelsea against Galatasary? I think not.

There seems to be no sane reason why the Owls’ rearranged Cup tie against Charlton could not have taken place on Hillsborough’s normal match night of Tuesday.

There is obviously no problem with Football League matches taking place on the same evening as European games. It happens quite often.

I always think this can be something of a drawback: for example some neutrals may have chosen to watch Man City v Barcelona on telly the other night when otherwise they might have gone to Hillsborough for the Owls’ fairly attractive fixture against a decent Derby side.

But clubs have to get the games in somehow and I am sure the Owls would much rather have played next Tuesday. Instead, they must play a Yorkshire derby and the Cup tie in a period of around 54 and a half hours.

It is the same for the other clubs who must play on Monday: Hull, striving to stay in the Premier League, face bottom-three team Cardiff tomorrow; Brighton play fellow promotion hopefuls Wigan; Charlton, desperate for points, have a London derby against title contenders QPR.

As all managers regard the League as more important than the Cup it seems quite possible that none of the teams who must play on Monday will field their strongest sides tomorrow.

So, it also seems to me that unless the FA can use their influence in some way to get the daft rule changed then they must stand by and see their own competition devalued.

The only consolation for the Owls is that Charlton are in the same position. The outcome on Monday, when a quarter-final against United will be at stake, could be determined by injuries and who has the stronger squad rather than who has the better side.