It’s make or break time for Brian Laws and his Wednesday side as they travel to promotion-chasing Birmingham City needing three points to keep their chances of a play-off finish alive.
But a defeat, or even a draw, could spell the end of the Owls’ slim chances – and the task couldn’t be tougher against a Birmingham side who could secure their promotion in front of what’s sure to be a bumper crowd at St Andrews.
Lee Bullen told the official SWFC site:
‘A lot people might say this game is more important than Cardiff two years ago. ‘However, all the pressure is on Birmingham, they have to continue as they have if they want to get automatic promotion. We can head there as underdogs, with less pressure on us and no fear but our away form is tremendous, as is our current run of form.
‘It is a great position to be in. Seven or eight games ago we were safe from relegation and the season could have disappeared into mediocrity but the lads have put on some fantastic performances.
‘It’s kept everyone on their toes and is great for the fans that we’re heading into the last two games with a chance of getting into the play-offs.’
Birmingham City Team News:
Blues boss Steve Bruce has little problems with his squad in comparison to his opposite number on Saturday with Darren Kenton and Damien Johnson the only doubts going in to the clash with hamstring problems.
Neils Danns will be available for selection following his three-match suspension and is likely to come straight back in to the squad as a substitute.
Former Wednesday trainee Cameron Jerome will be pushing for a place in the Blues starting line-up after missing out in the last few matches but Andy Cole and Nicklas Bendtner are likely to get the nod following their impressive displays against Wolves last weekend.
Player to watch: Gary McSheffrey
Vital Birmingham City ed Kym told us: ‘He can score with both feet and his head, is good with the dead ball and puts in a pretty mean cross.’ And so he should do too with the price tag the Blues paid for him from rivals Coventry at the start of the season. Will be a big threat to the Owls defence.
Wednesday Team News:
Iain Turner was recalled to Everton last weekend paving the way for Chris Adamson to make his first start for the club this year for the final two matches of the season.
Steve Watson has also been recalled to West Brom by boss Tony Mowbray, so Owls boss Brian Laws is likely to put Kenny Lunt back in the centre of midfield alongside freshly-crowned player-of-the-year Glenn Whelan, although Yoann Folly is also available.
Deon Burton is the biggest doubt for the Owls going in to the clash with the Blues. Burton got poked in the eye last weekend against Coventry and is rated as doubtful by boss Brian Laws.
But the return to full fitness of tricky winger Jermaine Johnson could see the former Bradford man come back in to the side and allow Marcus Tudgay to move to the attack alongside Steve Maclean.
Leon Clarke is also available and will be keen to get one over on his former rivals.
Frank Simek (ankle) and Lee Bullen (calf) are also doubts ahead of the St Andrews clash but should be involved.
Player to watch: Chris Brunt
Wednesday aren’t known for their qualities at the back this season so they’ll be relying on their attacking threat to bag the goals at the other end and the biggest threat in yellow will surely be the in-form Chris Brunt.
Match Facts & Stats
Last Time Out:
Wednesday 0-3 Birmingham, Hillsborough, 16th December 2006.
There was little Christmas cheer for Brian Laws and his men as the Owls fell to an undeserved 3-0 defeat against the Blues back in December. Wednesday put in arguably their best performance of the season against Bruce’s men but goals from Stephen Clemence, Gary McSheffrey and Cameron Jerome gave Birmingham the three points.
Birmingham wins: 30
Wednesday wins: 28
Birmingham: Doyle, N’Gotty, Jaidi, Martin Taylor, Kelly, Larsson (Nafti 90), Muamba, Clemence, McSheffrey (Vine 90), Bendtner, Cole (Jerome 61). Subs Not Used: Maik Taylor, Campbell.
Wednesday: Turner, Bullen, Wood, Simek, Spurr, Whelan, Tudgay (Johnson 29), Brunt, Watson, Burton (Gilbert 64), Clarke (MacLean 46). Subs Not Used: Adamson, Lunt.
Sunderland v Burnley
Barnsley v Leicester
Birmingham v Sheff Wed
Cardiff v Hull
Coventry v West Brom
Leeds v Ipswich
Norwich v Southampton
Plymouth v Preston
Southend v Luton
Stoke v Colchester
Wolverhampton v QPR
Crystal Palace v Derby
Vs Norwich City (H) – 06/05/07