Preview: Sheffield Wednesday vs. Mansfield Town - prediction, team news, lineups

sportsmole.co.uk, 24 November 2022, 18:58
Sheffield Wednesday and Mansfield Town will do battle in an FA Cup second-round tie at Hillsborough on Saturday.

The hosts progressed past Morecambe in the first round of the competition, while their fourth-tier visitors earned their place with a win away at Barrow.

Match preview

In the midst of their push to win promotion back to the Championship this season, Sheffield Wednesday began their FA Cup campaign with a first-round tie at home to Morecambe at the beginning of November, and they progressed with a 2-0 victory.

Josh Windass put them ahead on the half-hour mark, and Alex Mighten added a second in the 65th minute to book the Owls' place in the next round.

Their other cup run would come to an end in the following encounter away at Premier League outfit Southampton, though, eventually dropping out of the EFL Cup in the third round following a penalty shootout defeat, after a commendable 1-1 draw in normal time.

Since then, Darren Moore's side have continued their impressive form in England's third tier, posting back-to-back victories in their fight for a place in the top two, firstly beating Accrington Stanley on their travels before Mark McGuinness netted the only goal in a triumph at home to Shrewsbury Town last Saturday.

Having now cut the gap to the the automatic promotion spots to just a single point and the summit of the division to three points, the South Yorkshire outfit will briefly turn their attention away from the league and fight to book a place in the third round of the FA Cup.

Their visitors make the relatively short trip in the midst of a promotion fight of their own, with a disappointing defeat last time out seeing them drop outside of the playoff places in League Two.

The Stags also entered the FA Cup in the first round early in November, and they began with a trip to Barrow, eventually advancing with a 1-0 victory as Oliver Hawkins's goal late in the first half proved to be the difference between the sides.

Nigel Clough's side find themselves in a tough run of league form, though, having now lost three of their last four matches in the fourth tier, including a 2-1 defeat at home to Bradford City after that cup triumph, before they returned to winning ways away at Rochdale Town thanks to George Maris's second-half goal.

They now travel to Hillsborough on the back of another disappointing result in their fight for promotion, having been comfortably beaten 3-0 away at Harrogate Town last Saturday, as Alex Pattison opened the scoring inside five minutes and Luke Armstrong netted a first-half brace.

With their dip in form causing a drop to eighth spot, Clough's men will be keen to rebuild confidence with what would be a major upset away at third-tier opposition in Saturday's cup tie, with the chance to progress to the third round and fight among Premier League and Championship sides.

Sheffield Wednesday FA Cup form:

W

Sheffield Wednesday form (all competitions):

D

W

W

L

W

W

Mansfield Town FA Cup form:

W

Mansfield Town form (all competitions):

D

L

W

L

W

L

Team News

Darren Moore could deploy the same Sheffield Wednesday starting XI that got past Morecambe in the first round earlier this month, with talismanic captain Barry Bannan again likely to be rested.

Summer arrivals Mallik Wilks and Alex Mighten should also get another chance to boost their claims for regular first-team football, with the duo likely flanking either Michael Smith or Callum Paterson in the front three with additional support from Josh Windass.

With Bannan set to sit out, Bristol City loanee Tyreeq Bakinson could come into the midfield alongside Will Vaulks, while Dominic Iorfa and Mark McGuinness are expected to continue their centre-back partnership in the continued absence of Ben Heneghan, who will miss the majority of the campaign through injury.

In their bid to cause a major FA Cup upset, Mansfield Town should travel to Hillsborough with a full-strength starting XI, with John-Joe O'Toole, Oliver Hawkins and James Perch set to line up in a back three.

Nottingham Forest loanee Will Swan, who has netted six league goals so far this season, will likely fight with Lucas Akins to lead the line, while Jordan Bowery will offer further threat from a new wider role.

George Lapslie should come back in from the outset, having also hit the net six times this term, while George Maris is somewhat of a mainstay in midfield for Clough's men.

Sheffield Wednesday possible starting lineup:

Stockdale; Hunt, Iorfa, McGuinness, James; Bakinson, Vaulks; Wilks, Windass, Mighten; Smith

Mansfield Town possible starting lineup:

Pym; O'Toole, Hawkins, Perch; Bowery, Maris, Hartigan, Lapslie, Wallace; Quinn; Akins

We say: Sheffield Wednesday 3-0 Mansfield Town

While there is still plenty of room for improvement given the quality in their side, Sheffield Wednesday appear to have found a winning formula this season, and they should have too much for their fourth-tier visitors on Saturday.

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