Date: 7th January 2008 at 12:21am
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Owls boss Brian Laws rued his team’s inability to hang on to a two goal lead, and in the end had to settle for an FA Cup 3rd round replay at Hillsborough on January 15th.

Defensive errors from Derby had presented first Mark Beevers, then Rams old boy Marcus Tudgay, with their goals. Derby keeper Lewis Price let Beevers speculative volley go under his body, and Darren Moore’s poor header let in Tudgay.

Wednesday however were to let Derby back into the game: Kenny Miller’s good touch and finish creating the Rams first (Owls players should have perhaps made the block) and Giles Barnes threading a shot through a crowd of orange-clad defenders for the equaliser. Derby were to have marginally the better of the second half, the highlight being a fine save from Owls keeper Lee Grant to deny Gary Teale, and Deon Burton had a goal ruled out for offside late on.

Laws told Sky Sports News: ‘I’m pretty disappointed we haven’t won the game. When you get two goals, and OK we’ve had a little luck for one of them, but when you’re two up you don’t want to give them any kind of sniff. You end up having to hang on for the first 10 or 15 minutes of the second half. But after that I thought it was an open game. Both teams went for it – the last thing either ourselves or Derby want is a replay – but we’ve got another bite of the cherry.’

In other news: French newspaper L’Equipe reports that Algerian international Mansour Boutabout has joined Wednesday on trial. He currently plays for Ligue 2 side Sedan, and has 16 caps for his country. With all strikers returning to fitness at the moment, could this herald the departure of one or more of them?

The Leon Clarke deal, however, seems dead in the water: reports of his demanding a parting payment from the Owls would seem to have scuppered the deal. Southend boss Steve Tilson has gone on record as doubting Clarke’s commitment to the Shrimpers, and would see a loan deal as the only way forward at this time.

The Wednesday official site carries a brief statement on the club’s legal action against the fans. It states: ‘The Club, its Directors and Chief Executive are involved in discussions and are liaising with their lawyers, with a view to resolving the various disputes that have arisen from statements that have been made on a number of online forums.’ More of an aide memoire to the board than a statement, it would seem to me!

And finally, our very own Tommy Spurr (well, we sponsor the guy’s shirt and we think he’s top) was Player of the Month for December, featuring strongly at left back (not his favoured position, remember) in all six games. Belated congratulations to him. Well done, Tommy!