By Laurie Fitzgerald

This weekend marks one of the most traditional and best-loved moments in the English football calendar – the FA Cup Third Round.

A set of fixtures that can throw up many David vs. Goliath battles as the Premier League and Championship sides enter the competition.

This year sees some intriguing match-ups, with the fierce rivalry between United and City set to re-ignite in the Manchester derby.

While non-league Tamworth travel to Everton and League Two outfit Macclesfield take on top-flight strugglers Bolton Wanderers.

But there are some fascinating line-ups throughout the draw, in particularly at Hillsborough tomorrow afternoon where two teams well on course for automatic promotion from their respective divisions face one another.

Both Sheffield Wednesday and West Ham United have some great memories in the Cup, with the two clubs among previous winners of the oldest cup competition in the world.

The Owls have won it three times, although their last success was way back in 1935. However, they did get to the final in 1993 where they lost to Arsenal.

As for the Hammers, their three triumphs have come a lot more recently than Wednesday’s, with Trevor Brooking’s winner against Arsenal in 1980 the last time they lifted the trophy.

They did come agonisingly close under Alan Pardew back in 2006 when they were leading Liverpool 3-2 going into injury time at the Millennium Stadium before Steven Gerrard scored one of the all-time great Cup Final goals and help the Reds go on to win in a penalty shoot-out.

Since those respective days of high points, both clubs have gone through considerably low points, with Wednesday dropping into League One and West Ham finding themselves back in the Championship following relegation in May.

However, their current standings may lead to managers Gary Megson and Sam Allardyce managing their squads carefully in order to prioritise for their main targets this season.

With the two sides in second place in their divisions, the primary aim of securing promotion will clearly come above a financially beneficial but potentially distracting cup run.

For Megson, he will be delighted if his team can maintain their impressive unbeaten run at home this campaign.

Stephen Bywater has recently been brought in on loan from Championship club Derby County and the goalkeeper could face his former club.

With main striker Gary Madine injured, Clinton Morrison and Ryan Lowe have been battling for a continued run in the team and both will want to prove a point to Megson against higher opposition.

As for Allardyce, he has made it clear reinforcements are needed as the Hammers have become embroiled in a very tight battle for automatic promotion along with Southampton, Middlesbrough and Cardiff City.

David Sullivan has already stated through the clubs official website that there will be new players arriving in the January transfer window, and have reportedly made bids for Huddersfield hotshot Jordan Rhodes and Cardiff midfielder Peter Whittingham.

So all the more reason for those given a chance tomorrow to prove a point to the management.

Especially for someone like Sam Baldock, who many feel has not been given the run in the team that he deserves after impressing following his move from MK Dons.

He could play a big part in making sure the Hammers don’t have their momentum dented by suffering a shock result against their League One opponents.

But the same applies to Wednesday as two teams enjoying good campaigns will want to continue their starts in 2012.

Prediction: With an excellent home record and a well-organised team in place at Wednesday, this will be a tough trip for West Ham and it’s a tight one to call. With a set of strikers out to prove a point to their boss, I’m going for a 2-2 draw.

So what do you think? Will Sheffield Wednesday cause an upset? Or will the Hammers prevail at Hillsborough? Leave a comment and let us know your views.

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