Wednesday face one of their toughest matches between now and the end of the season when they visit sixth-placed Notts County this weekend.
The Owls could move into the automatic promotion spots come 5.45pm on Saturday if they beat the Magpies and Sheffield United lose at home against Tranmere – but the focus will be firmly on a good performance, and the right result, against the Magpies.
Dave Jones has won both of his matches in emphatic style since taking full control of Wednesday but Keith Curle’s side will prove a tough nut to crack thanks to a six-game unbeaten run going into the game.
Magpies boss Keith Curle told The Nottingham Post:
‘You can’t tell me that we can’t get Meadow Lane absolutely bouncing.
‘When we played Charlton there was a great atmosphere and it spurred them on. It’s got to be there for us.
‘We want our fans bouncing, knowing the players are going to go out and perform.
‘We need them to enjoy watching the players showcasing their abilities.’
Notts County Team News:
The Magpies will be buzzing going into this weekend’s clash thanks to their good run of form. A 4-2 win at league leaders Charlton Athletic last time out highlights the quality within the County squad and their play-off potential.
They’ll also be boosted with the loan arrival of former Wednesday winger Lloyd Sam, who’s joined County on a emergency loan deal until the end of the season from Leeds United. Sam is expected to go straight into the squad.
Striker Lee Hughes will also be available for selection after serving a three-match suspension. County are hardly shot-shy in his absence, however, with Jonathan Forte scoring a hat-trick at The Valley last weekend.
Stephen Hunt (ankle) and Jude Sterling (thigh) will definitely be out.
Player to watch: Jonathan Forte
The on-loan Southampton hitman will be in confident mood for the visit of the Owls having hit the ‘perfect’ hat-trick at Charlton last weekend – one with his left foot, one with his right and one with his head.
Wednesday Team News:
It could be ‘same again’ for Wednesday after they demolished Bournemouth within ten minutes at Hillsborough last weekend.
Manager Dave Jones has stuck with the same starting eleven for his first two games fully in charge and could be tempted to do the same again, although it’ll be first first away match at the helm.
Reda Johnson will offer him options after returning from injury. The Benin defender has been sidelined for the last three games through a hamstring injury but Julian Bennett has been performing well in his place at left-back.
Jermaine Johnson is also nearing a return to action but he won’t be part of this weekend’s squad. Jon Otsemobor will also be unavailable after undergoing a knee operation.
Player to watch: Michail Antonio
The on-loan Reading winger has been on-fire in his last few matches, creating goals and scoring them. He’s been Wednesday’s main creative outlet and Jones will be looking for more of the same for the talented wing wizard at County.
Match Facts & Stats
County wins: 21
Wednesday wins: 31
Last Time Out:
Wednesday 2-1 Notts County
Hillsborough; Saturday, August 20
Jeff Hughes fired County into a 1-0 lead from the penalty spot in the reverse fixture at S6 before second-half strikes from Julian Bennett and Gary Madine saw the Owls to victory. Neil Bishop also saw red for County late on.
v Walsall (H) – 20/3/12
v Leyton Orient (A) – 24/3/12