Another week and another relegation ‘six pointer’ for Wednesday, this time with added local pride at stake as the Owls visit South Yorkshire neighbours Barnsley in front of the Sky cameras.
Both sides sit in the Championship relegation spots going into the contest and will be desperate for some early Christmas cheer to boost their survival chances going into the New Year.
A derby tussle could be just what the doctor ordered for both struggling sides, especially for under-pressure Dave Jones as he looks to end a worrying run of seven straight defeats.
Barnsley boss Keith Hill told the Sheffield Star:
“I really haven`t concerned myself with Dave Jones because I`ve got the pressure of trying to get us results. But he`s under pressure just like I am; both clubs need results.
“It`s a results-driven business, but results have gone bad unfortunately.
“The demands of the Championship are so high that you`ve got to keep working really hard to get anything.
“He`s under pressure, but he`s a magnificent manager and I`ve got a lot of respect for him.’
Owls attacker Michail Antonio told the official SWFC website:
“It will be a tough, Barnsley are an established Championship team but it`s a derby and a game that everyone is looking forward to.
“We know we can rely on the fans to get right behind us and with their help there`s no reason why we can`t leave with three points.”
Barnsley Team News:
The Reds go into the game with no win from their last ten Championship matches – the last coming at Charlton Athletic in mid-October – but buoyed by a point at high-flying Leicester City last weekend.
Boss Keith Hill could opt to stick with the same starting eleven that took a point from the King Power Stadium, with Jacob Mellis still nursing a deadleg.
David Perkins returned as a substitute at Leicester but will not be risked with a starting role just yet, and Hill has no other fresh injury or suspension concerns for the match.
Former Owl Marcus Tudgay, on-loan at Oakwell with a view to a permanent move, is expected to start for the Tykes but has promised not to celebrate if he finds the back of the net.
Player to watch: Marcus Tudgay
Tudgay is still well liked at Hillsborough from his time as an Owl, but he’ll be out to pile more woe on Wednesday with goals for his new club. Tudgay, on-loan from Nottingham Forest with a view to a permanent deal, has said he will not celebrate if he finds the back of the net.
Wednesday Team News:
Owls boss Dave Jones will have loan recruit Mamady Sidibe back and available for selection after the Stoke loanee recovered from a hamstring injury.
Jones will have to decide whether to throw the experienced hitman back into the starting line-up, however, with Gary Madine, Chris O’Grady, Rodri and Chris Maguire also pushing for places.
The Owls boss could also look to involved players such as Danny Mayor from the off.
Player to watch: Chris O’Grady
O’Grady was heavily linked with a move to Oakwell before the close of the transfer window but he could be crucial up top for the Owls on Saturday.
Match Facts & Stats
Barnsley wins: 21
Wednesday wins: 31
Last Time Out:
Barnsley 1-2 Wednesday
Goals from Tommy Spurr and Jermaine Johnson, both in the first half, proved enough to give Wednesday victory the last time the sides met at Oakwell.
v Charlton Athletic (H) – 22/12/12
v Bolton Wanderers (A) – 26/12/12