Owls target last 16

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Pleasing home draw gives Irvine’s men great chance

ALAN Irvine is relishing a great chance of reaching the last 16 of the FA Cup now that a home tie against League Two opposition is the Owls’ reward for Saturday’s brilliant 3-0 away victory against Championship side Bristol City.

Irvine admits that Wednesday will be favourites to win the clash with Wycombe or Hereford on the weekend of January 29, and he welcomed a home draw.

He also believes that the Owls must be careful to avoid becoming victims of one of the competition’s traditional shocks.

“It’s good to be at home,” he told The Star. “Obviously we will be favourites, but we can’t take anything for granted.

“Bristol City will have been favourites to win against us, and there were other teams who were favourites but didn’t win.

“I think it’s a good draw, but it’s a draw we need to be wary of. If we play the way we played at Bristol City, then I would hope that will be good enough to take us through.

“Yes, it has to be an opportunity to go through, but whoever it is that we play, they will come here feeling that it is an opportunity for them to produce a shock.”

Wycombe and Hereford meet at Wycombe tomorrow in the third round.

Hereford won 4-3 at Lincoln on Saturday in a second-round replay that had been postponed three times.

The Bulls’ former Owls full back Ryan Green was sent off and misses tomorrow’s game.

Wycombe are third in League Two, behind Chesterfield and Rotherham. Hereford are bottom.

Saturday’s win put Wednesday in the fourth round for the first time in 10 years and earned them another £67,500 from the FA Cup prize fund to add to the total of £45,000 they collected for beating Southport and Northampton in rounds one and two.

The prize for winning in the fourth round is £90,000.

The Owls’ draw means that Irvine may change his plans and visit tomorrow’s game rather than another that he had planned to watch.

He also said: “It’s a huge surprise to me that it’s 10 years since the club have been this far. You expect a club like this to be beyond the third round.

“Obviously the priority for us is the league; that’s what we’ll be judged on at the end of the season. But I’m delighted to be through, and it’s terrific for us.

“I said to the lads before Saturday’s game that this was one of the special days in the English football calendar. It was important to me, important to our fans, important to the chairman, and the players showed it was important to them.”

The Cup date means that the Owls’ home League game against Tranmere is postponed.