Sheffield Wednesday put difficult circumstance behind them to advance into the next round of the FA Cup on Saturday afternoon.
The Owls, who are staring down the barrel of a relegation battle in the Championship, were already managerless and now had to play without their caretaker boss Neil Thompson after he and his assistants tested positive for the virus.
In his absence, they saw off League Two side Exeter City with relative ease, winning 2-0 down in Devon.
Wednesday utility duo Adam Reach and Calum Paterson both got on the scoresheet, either side of half-time, though it was another versatile star who received the plaudits in Liam Shaw, who expertly deputised at centre-back.
However, it was Owls skipper Barry Bannan who arguably stole the show on their travels. He enjoyed more touches (90) than any other player on the pitch and considerably more than any other visiting player.
The Scottish veteran is often the heartbeat of the team, the ticking metronome, and that proved to be true once again as he made 58 passes, eight of which were long balls and two of which were key chances, via SofaScore.
Howson was pleased with his outing too, dubbing him a ‘magician’ after providing the assist for their opener.
Indeed, this is something often attributed to the 31-year-old genius – following Wednesday’s encounter in Manchester City in this very competition last season, Pep Guardiola lauded Bannan, calling him “incredible” and “fantastic,” according to the Daily Record.
His form will undoubtedly be key to whether or not they beat the drop in the Championship.
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