Three points is the requirement from Wednesday when Preston visit Hillsborough as the Owls look to continue piling the pressure on second-placed Sheffield United.
Victory over the Deepdale club would take Wednesday second for a few hours at least – the Owls kick-off at 12.45pm on Sky with United kicking-off at the regular 3pm time.
The Owls eased to victory the last time the sides met and are the form side going into the game, but North End will be looking to bounce back following their disappointing midweek defeat.
Owls boss Dave Jones told the Sheffield Star:
“Anything is possible while there are still enough points there. We have to keep chasing. If you give up on it and take your foot off the gas and they (Charlton) do falter, then you`ll kick yourself.
“So we are now full foot to the floor in everything we do, whether it be training, the way we approach it or what I play. Everything is full throttle now and that`s the way it`s got to be right to the end.”
He continued: “They`ll want to come to Hillsborough and play well. We know the pitfalls. We just have to make sure we don`t fall into them.”
PNE boss Graham Westley told the official Preston website:
‘I would expect the team to go into Saturday’s game with a real relish. It is a fantastic fixture, there will be a big crowd and it is going to be a great surface.
‘It is going to be a great opportunity to put themselves on show in front of the TV cameras and I think it is the perfect game to bounce back.’
Wednesday Team News:
Defender Danny Batth is fit and available for a return to action after missing last week’s 1-0 win at Leyton Orient through a hamstring injury. Miguel Llera stepped in last week and helped the Owls keep a clean sheet – so will Dave Jones bring the on-loan centre-back straight back in to the starting eleven?
New loan recruits Nile Ranger and Keith Treacy will also be pushing for their first starts since joining the Owls. Both players were substitutes last weekend and will be keen to play in front of their new supporters.
Wednesday have no fresh injury or suspension concerns.
Player to watch: Michail Antonio
Wednesday fans should get a first glimpse of new loan duo Nile Ranger and Keith Treacy at S6 on Saturday but Michail Antonio is still the form man for the Owls. The on-loan Reading attacker is a threat through assists and goals.
Preston NE Team News:
North End boss Graham Westley has rated former Owls forward Neil Mellor as ‘unlikely’ to feature tis weekend, although that assessment did come on Tuesday.
Mellor, who impressed on-loan with the Owls from Preston last season, will be desperate to feature however and could be included on the bench for the trip to his former stomping ground.
The Lancashire club have also been nursing Welsh international defender Craig Morgan back to full fitness following injury, although he’ll be touch and go for their trip across the Pennines.
Morgan has returned as a substitute and Westley has said the defender could be back in the first team sooner rather than later, although whether he’ll be fully fit for a run-out from the start at S6 is unknown.
Player to watch: Iain Hume
The battling former Barnsley and Leicester City striker is North End’s joint top-scorer so far this season with nine goals alongside Neil Mellor. His pace, power and never-say-die attitude will be a threat to the Wednesday defence.
Match Facts & Stats
Wednesday wins: 38
PNE wins: 40
Last Time Out:
PNE 0-2 Wednesday
The Owls brought 2011 to an end in winning fashion with a comprehensive 2-0 victory in Lancashire the last time the sides met. First-half goals from Danny Batth and Ben Marshall gave Wednesday a comfortable win.
v Huddersfield Town (A) – 7/4/12
v Oldham Athletic (H) – 9/4/12