Laws: Owls ready to give City the blues in replay

SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY manager Brian Laws has warned close friend Stuart Pearce there will be “no easy ride” for Manchester City in their FA Cup third-round replay.

The Owls deserved their return to Eastlands on January 17 after holding their Premiership opponents to a 1-1 draw at Hillsborough.

City looked on course for the last 32 when striker Georgios Samaras scored a 78th-minute penalty after Kenny Lunt felled Micah Richards. But within 80 seconds Laws’ Championship side were level when Steve MacLean beat goalkeeper Nicky Weaver with a low curling shot from 18 yards.

Laws feels his side will again be able to more than hold their own in 10 days’ time as he said: “We showed there is no great divide between the teams. I believe we were the better side on the day, but at least we have another bite of the cherry and we are in the hat for the draw for the next round.

“We will go there with confidence because we’ve a good away record, we are playing well, so it will be no easy ride for Manchester City.”

Wednesday certainly had the better of the game over the 90 minutes, with Laws adding: “It would have been a travesty if we had not got the equaliser.” .”

Laws believes his side has set a standard on their quest for a return to the Premiership. “It gives us a taste of what it is all about,” added Laws.

“We have to aim to get back to the Premiership. We will get there, but it will take hard work, patience and belief — the players have all three.”

Laws and Pearce both believe referee Graham Poll made the correct decision in awarding only a yellow card to Richards for a first-half incident involving former City midfielder Glenn Whelan, in which it appeared Whelan stiff-armed Richards before he was thrown to the ground in response.

Laws said: “If a player pushes or shoves another in the chest, now it is deemed a yellow card and not red. Anything above the chest will be a red card unless it is violent, so the referee obviously thought it wasn’t violent and only worthy of a yellow.”

Pearce reflected: “A yellow card was a fair conclusion. The ref dealt with it well and the players got on with it.”

Unlike Laws, his former Nottingham Forest team-mate, Pearce felt his side were worthy of the replay. “I think a draw was a fair result on the balance of play.

They played extremely well, and either team could have won it.”

SHEFF WED: Crossley, Bullen, Coughlan, Simek, Spurr, Brunt, Whelan, Lunt, Tudgay (Small 76), MacLean, Burton.

MAN CITY: Weaver, Trabelsi (Sinclair 45), Onuoha, Dunne, Distin, Jordan, Richards, Dabo (Dickov 87), Beasley (Miller 80), Samaras, Vassell.

Referee: G Poll (Hertfordshire).

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