League matters most, insists Owls’ Megson

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SHEFFIELD Wednesday manager Gary Megson has hit back at criticism of the club’s midweek performance against Blackpool in the FA Cup.

The Owls were booed by a section of supporters at Hillsborough after missing out on a fifth round trip to Everton.

Megson made seven changes for the game but insists it was right to rest players ahead of today’s League One game at Exeter City.

“Everyone has an opinion but we have 19 outfield players when everyone is fit and we were fighting on two fronts,” he said.

“No one has ever said to me ‘I tell you what Gary, give it your best whirl in the FA Cup and if we don’t get promoted it’s not such a big deal’.

“Because of that, all our focus has to be on getting Sheffield Wednesday into a position where it was 15 years ago, where it does okay in the league, and gets to the League Cup final and FA Cup final,” he added. “But we are one million miles away from that position so the first step is trying to improve the position we are in in the league.

“We are a Division One club that has been right in the cart for 15 years and we are trying to get the place moving forward again. Our biggest asset isn’t on the pitch, it is the crowd, and we have to try and enthuse them so they get on board even more so than in the past.

“I am pleased to say that our gates are up 13 per cent this year – and we have not had our biggest attendance (against Sheffield United) yet. So that’s improving. A lot of other things are improving but the bottom line always has to be winning games because that’s the only thing that gets us where we want to go.”

The Owls will be looking to tighten their grip on second spot this afternoon and Megson will revert to his strongest available side.

“The response, hopefully, will come against Exeter,” he said. “Against Yeovil last weekend, we didn’t play brilliantly but we got a good three points. We are not in the business of learning and getting better – we just want results.”

The Owls were humbled 5-1 on their last visit to St James’s Park – in the final weeks before Alan Irvine was sacked as manager.

A similar result today would be one of the shocks of the season especially as the Grecians have gone over six hours without a goal and sit two points above the relegation zone.

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