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Sheffield Wednesday seeking solace in FA Cup – Garry Monk

Sheffield Wednesday boss Garry Monk is seeking solace in the FA Cup.

Wednesday are on a downward spiral in the Sky Bet Championship after winning only one of their last nine games.

They face Manchester City in the fifth round at Hillsborough on Wednesday, four days after Monk said he was in “probably the most difficult moment” of his managerial career.

“It’s been one of the most difficult periods, for various reasons,” said Monk, whose side slipped eight points off the play-off pace after Saturday’s home defeat to Derby.

“But the challenge is the challenge. I’m not going to sit and cry and mope about because it’s a difficult moment.”

The Owls sat third in the table on Christmas Day, but have lost eight of their 13 league games since.

They upset Brighton away in the FA Cup third round and followed that up with victory at QPR in the next and Monk believes a visit from Pep Guardiola’s treble winners could be just what his side needs to halt their slide.

“We feel that’s the plan,” he said. “It’s a good one for all of us. The players will be challenging themselves against such a good team, such a good manager.

“To come up against a manager of that calibre and all those things that go for me and my staff and the fans.

“We’ve earned the right as well, let’s not forget. We’ve put in two really good performances, with results people probably didn’t expect, especially the Brighton one – and we gave a great account of ourselves.

“I know it’s a different calibre we’re playing against, but if we can produce the same type of performance and levels then we can cause our own problems.”

There is plenty of unrest at Hillsborough due to the club’s poor form and the shadow of a possible points deduction looming after they allegedly fell foul of the English Football League’s financial fair play rules.

But Monk said now is not the time for him to outline his long-term plans for his squad.

“I’ve got much more to focus on right now than that,” he added. “I need to focus on winning games.

“That will come. I’ll happily discuss all that, but right now my priority is trying to win games and we have a big game tomorrow against a big opponent.”

Monk confirmed he has no new injury concerns and did not rule out offering several fringe players the chance to impress.

Leading goalscorer Steven Fletcher is in contention having made his first league start since January at the weekend following a knee injury.

Midfielder Massimo Luongo and defender Moses Odubajo both returned to full training on Tuesday, but will not be ready. Winger Adam Reach (toe) is hoping to step up his recovery next week.