It’s derby day in Sheffield this Sunday and arguably the biggest Steel City clash for some time at Hillsborough.
Former Owls midfielder and manager Danny Wilson will return to S6 for the first time as Blades boss, looking to maintain his side’s large advantage over Wednesday in the battle for automatic promotion.
For Wednesday, nothing less than a win is needed if they’re to keep pace with United in the race for the top-two.
League positions aside, of course, the local bragging rights are at stake and Megson and his men will aim to put smiles on Wednesdayites’ faces in work on Monday morning.
Owls boss Gary Megson told the Sheffield Star:
‘This is a pivotal game for everybody who follows Sheffield Wednesday. It’s a pivotal game for me. I’m going to take the team in front of the biggest crowd for a long, long time.
‘For a Sheffield lad, it’s simply a massive occasion and we want to win.’
Owls defender Rob Jones told the Sheffield Star:
‘We’ve all been disappointed with the way it’s gone in the last three games with us scoring only one goal. But this week, training has been fantastic; very bubbly, noisy and with a lot of camaraderie in the dressing room.
‘In the three games, we didn’t play badly but we conceded silly goals and missed chances, and it hasn’t dropped for us.
‘Hopefully we’ll put that right in the derby.
‘We’re third; overall the season has gone very well. We have a great squad, a good manager who believes in us and we believe in him.’
United boss Danny Wilson told the official SUFC website:
‘We can’t allow the occasion of the game or the build-up to detract from what we will be trying to achieve. We are up against a very strong side and need to be at our very best to get the right result.
‘You can only know if you have enjoyed the game as a manager, player or fan after the game and everything depends on the result, which is the be all and end all.’
Wednesday Team News:
Wednesday boss Gary Megson could give a debut to new loan recuit Michael Antonio. The winger arrived on-loan until the end of the season from Reading this week and will be named in the matchday squad.
He’ll replace Jermaine Johnson, who’ll miss the clash and eight weeks of the season through a knee injury sustained in last week’s defeat at Chesterfield.
Injuries aside, Megson could well tinker with his starting eleven following a run of three defeats on the spin.
Players such as Gary Madine, John Bostock and Miguel Llera, who were all substitutes at Chesterfield, will all be pushing for a recall to the starting line-up.
Player to watch: Michail Antonio
All eyes will be on the Owls’ new-boy after he completed a loan switch to S6 from Reading this week. Antonio is set to replace the injured Jermaine Johnson on the wing and is said to be a fast and powerful winger. He has an eye for goal, too, and a long throw-in which will surely help Wednesday’s attacking threat.
United Team News:
Midfielder Kevin McDonald is the biggest injury concern for Blades boss Danny Wilson going into the game.
McDonald is suffering from a hamstring strain and is in a race against time to be fit – he’ll be given until the last minute to prove himself. His absence would be a blow for the Blades.
If he misses out Nick Montgomery is said to replace him in midfield – he came off the bench to take his place when McDonald suffered the injury against Preston last weekend, although Lee Williamson will also be an option.
Other than that, United have no fresh injury or suspension concerns for the clash.
Player to watch: Ched Evans
Evans was initially a bit of a flop following his move from Manchester City but he’s proved his goalscoring ability this season – netting 21 goals for the Blades so far. He’ll be the biggest threat for the visitors on Sunday.
Match Facts & Stats
Wednesday wins: 40
United wins: 45
Last Time Out:
United 2-2 Wednesday
Bramall Lane, 16/10/11
Wednesday came from 2-0 down to bag a share of the spoils the last time the sides met. Stephen Quinn and Ched Evans made it 2-0 to the hosts after 20 minutes but the Owls left it late to level, Chris O’Grady and Gary Madine being on target.
v Rochdale (A) – 3/3/12
v Bury (H) – 6/3/12