Wednesday and Burnley will both be looking to kick-start 2007 at Turf Moor after both clubs made a disastrous start to the new year as hopes of a play-off spot faded with no wins for either side in the Championship to date.
The game could prove pivotal to whoever picks up with three points – but with the Owls having such a good record at Turf Moor in recent years (7-2 spring to mind), fans making the short trip will fancy their chances.
Wednesday were on their worst run of the campaign last season as they travelled to face Steve Cotterill’s in form Clarets – but goals from Chris Eagles and Graham Coughlan ensured a win was on the cards, and it began a run of form which secured their Championship status.
Steve Cotterill told the official BFC site:
‘We are the same people that were flying at the beginning of the season. There are always challenges. We’ve got to meet the challenge head on. It will be a tough game. Sheffield Wednesday will probably have between two and three thousand fans here, which will make it tough in itself.
‘Sheffield Wednesday put a good run of form together when the young youth team coach went in there after Paul Sturrock had gone.
‘They won about three or four on the spin I think. If you do that, then it’s a very tight league. The points are very hard to come by, but if you can do that it can obviously change your fortunes.’
Burnley Team News:
The Clarets have been hit with a minor goalkeeping problem after former Rotherham stopper Mike Pollitt was recalled from his loan spell at the club and returns to Wigan. But Danny Coyne is fit to return to action after featuring for Northern Ireland with Chris Brunt in midweek.
Former Blade Andy Gray could make his first start for a number of weeks in attack after featuring as a substitute for the Clarets last weekend. Gray got sent off in the reverse fixture back at Hillsborough and will be keen to make amends on Saturday against his former Steel City rivals.
It could make for a former all-Blade attacking line-up for the hosts with Ade Akinbiyi also back at the club after his move from Bramall Lane in the January transfer window.
Former Sunderland defender Steve Cauldwell could make his first start for the club after making the move to Turf Moor from the Stadium of Light in January.
Player to watch: Ade Akinbiyi
The former Leicester City man only had a brief spell with the red and white side of Sheffield, but he netted in the derby at Hillsborough last season and will be keen to do the sasme on Saturday – not only to get one over on his former rivals but to help the Clarets back on to the winning trail.
Wednesday Team News:
Wednesday boss Brian Laws will be hoping for a new defender to be in place for the trip to Lancashire to boost his injury ravaged defence.
The Owls have been left short at the back following the sale of Madjid Bougherra and injuries to Graham Coughlan and Richard Wood, and Laws has revealed he hopes to have an experienced former Premiership defender in place for Saturday to relieve Mark Beevers at the back.
Peter Gilbert will also be fit and available for selection for Laws following his successful loan spell at Doncaster Rovers which saw him regain fitness following a knee injury picked up last March.
Laws will have a selection headache on his hands up front with fans bemused by his leaving out of the in-form Steve Maclean for last week’s defeat against PNE. Deon Burton made amends by netting an early goal but Marcus Tudgay continued to struggle in front of goal and is now without a goal since November.
Leon Clarke could also be given the nod to make his first appearance in attack following two substitute appearances for the Owls after making the move from Wolves.
Player to watch: Chris Brunt
Impressed the pundits for Northern Ireland against Wales in midweek and will be hoping to continue that form in to Saturday’s clash to get the Owls firmly back on track. Still the top scorer for the club from midfield, and top scoring midfielder in the league. Wednesday will be counting on his long range shooting and set-pieces.
Match Facts & Stats
Wednesday 1-1 Burnley – Hillsborough, 12/08/06
Wednsday continued their slow start to the season as the high-flying Clarets continued their at Hillsborough. Steve Maclean looked to have collected all three points for the Owls with his spot-kick but James O’Connor levelled late on for the visitors. Former Blade Andy Gray was sent off deep in to injury time as both sides settled for the point.
Burnley: Pollitt, Foster (Caldwell 66), McGreal, Duff, Harley, Mahon (Jones 65), Gudjonsson (Gray 65), James O’Connor, McCann, Lafferty, Akinbiyi
Wednesday: Crossley; Simek, Bullen, Beevers, Spurr; Small (MacLean 77), Lunt (Folly 57), Whelan, Brunt; Tudgay (Clarke 57), Burton.
Southend v QPR
Barnsley v Colchester
Burnley v Sheff Wed
Coventry v Cardiff
Derby v Hull
Ipswich v Leicester
Leeds v Crystal Palace
Luton v Norwich
Plymouth v Sunderland
Preston v Wolverhampton
West Brom v Southampton
Vs Luton (A) – 20/02/07
Vs Southend United (H) – 24/02/07
Vs Leeds United (A) – 03/02/07