Wednesday face a true test of their play-off credentials when they make the tough trip to Ninian Park to take on Dave Jones’ in-form Cardiff City.
Brian Laws’ men go into the clash on the back of an impressive five-game unbeaten run, but, as all-too common at S6, with his squad stretched to the limit.
But the Bluesbirds, aiming for a top-two spot this season, come into the game in similar good form – five games unbeaten.
To take anything from the match would be a bonus for Brian Laws and his troops as they enter the typically tough Christmas period.
Brian Laws told the Sheffield Star:
‘We’ll have one or two young players on the bench, for sure and maybe we’ll throw one into the first team. That shows where we are at the moment.
‘I won’t be using injuries as an excuse if we don’t get the right result, because I believe the team are in good form; they have a huge amount of confidence. They can get a good result at Cardiff, no doubt about that.’
He added: ‘Sometimes it can be a blessing in disguise when you don’t have many options; the players go out there and give their best, and you know you’re going to get that.
‘Cardiff are a good side. Dave Jones has done a fantastic job there. They’ll be in the top seven. Their team is full of experience, and they’re consistently good at home.
‘We’re certainly not going there to fear them. Why should we?’
Cardiff City Team News:
Wednesday will have one less thing to worry about with the news that City will be without top-scorer Ross McCormack, who missed out through a hamstring injury.
The Owls will no doubt have highlighted McCormack as one of the biggest dangers from the Bluebirds, with his form seeing him net seven goals in his last eight outings.
The Bluebirds will also have to give a late fitness test to McCormack’s strike partner, Michael Chopra, who’s struggling with a shin injury but is expected to make the Cardiff squad.
Former Aston Villa midfielder Peter Whittingham is also missing through injury for Cardiff.
Player to watch: Wayne Routledge
The Bluebirds have a number of former Premier League players on their books and in Wayne Routledge, Wednesday will have plenty to deal with from the jet-heeled winger.
Wednesday Team News:
Owls boss Brian Laws will have to rely on youthful exhuberance to complete his makeshift squad for the trip to Ninian Park.
Steve Watson, Jimmy Smith and Wade Small have all be added to the ever-growing Owls injury list, meaning Nathan Modest is once again expected to be on the coach to Wales, while Sam Liversedge is expected to be included after being recalled from his loan spell at Buxton.
Player to watch: Bartosz Slusarski
The Owls’ new boy will be looking to bag his first goal since returning on loan to S6, and is likely to once again be in a three-pronged Wednesday attack.
Match Facts & Stats
Cardiff wins: 21
Wednesday wins: 22
Last Time Out:
Wednesday 1-0 Cardiff
A sole Marcus Tudgay goal was enough to give battling Wednesday all three points in a close-fought clash with the Bluebirds last time out.
Cardiff: Enckelman, McNaughton, Gyepes, Roger Johnson, Rae, Routledge, Parry, Ledley, Kennedy, Bothroyd, Chopra (Eddie Johnson 35), Eddie Johnson (McPhail 83). Subs Not Used: Heaton, Comminges, Scimeca.
Wednesday: Grant, Buxton, Beevers, Wood, Spurr, Tudgay, McAllister, O’Connor, Slusarski (Watson 71), Jeffers (Smith 71), Clarke. Subs Not Used: O’Donnell, Lekaj, Modest.
v Blackpool (H) – 26/12/08
v Coventry City (A) – 28/12/08