Sheffield Wednesday: Reda ready for challenge from Wigan’s super Mac

Callum McManaman bears down on the Bolton goal during Wigan's 3-2 win
Callum McManaman bears down on the Bolton goal during Wigan's 3-2 win

Wigan star Callum McManaman is the next challenge facing Reda Johnson and fellow defenders.

The Owls coped pretty well with Ikechi Anya, who had been earning compliments for his wing form with Watford.

Now McManaman is the opposing wide man attracting attention as Wednesday prepare to face the FA Cup holders at Hillsborough tomorrow.

McManaman was at the centre of Wembley glory when the Latics beat Manchester City 1-0 in the final in May.

The winger gave City left back Gael Clichy a hard time - and this week he has been praised by new Wigan manager Uwe Rosler after he scored the winner in the 3-2 victory against Bolton on Sunday.

For Owls skipper Johnson it will be another chance to show that he deserves his place in the side.

It was his first start in five games when he came in for Joe Mattock for the 1-0 win at Watford.

But he suggests that being left out only spurred him to up his game: “Sometimes it’s better for your mind and makes you a better player; you have to give it your best.

“The gaffer dropped me from the team. I accept that. It’s football. I have no trouble with that. I came back and we won.” Johnson was left out by Dave Jones after the 3-0 defeat at Derby. He was an unusued sub against Huddersfield, missed the Blackpool and Leicester games with a hip injury, and played under Stuart Gray as a sub against Forest.

McManaman is said to have terrorised Bolton left back Alex Baptiste on Sunday.

Rosler said: “I was thinking of not playing him from the start, and bringing him on as an impact player. But he was so good against Maribor (on Thursday) I thought we need to build confidence with this lad.

“He is a match-winner for us; we just need to bring him on to a level where he can play 90 minutes with that intensity and that quality. We left him on and he will get a lot out of this, fitness-wise.

“On the ball, he’s fantastic. He can destroy oppositions, he did it very effectively and to get the goal rounded up a very good performance from him.”

The re-arranged Hillsborough game is being played tomorrow instead of the normal match night of Tuesday, because of the knock-on effect of Wigan’s involvement in the Europa League, where fixtures are on Thursdays, which meant the Latics’ match against Bolton being switched to Sunday and them refusing to play on Tuesday.

Wednesday Under 21s lost 3-2 to Forest at Middlewood yesterday: they trailed 2-0 at half time, a Franck Betra double pulled them level, and the away side scored a late winner.