Date: 5th February 2010 at 9:04am
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Wednesday boss Alan Irvine faces arguably his toughest challenge since taking the Owls hot-seat as he takes his troops to high-flying Nottingham Forest tomorrow.

Irvine has enjoyed four wins from five matches during his time at S6, lifting Wednesday out of the relegation spots, but Billy Davies’ record has been just as, if not more, impressive with Forest.

He, and the rest of the Forest faithful, will be hoping last weekend’s defeat at Derby was just a blip as they look to get back to winning ways on home soil against the Owls.

A tough task lies in wait for Irvine and his men no doubt, and avoiding defeat would be deemed a success for the Owls in Nottinghamshire this weekend.

Vital Quotes:

Alan Irvine told the official SWFC website:

‘I am fully aware of the threats Nottingham Forest have got. Billy Davies has had plenty of money to spend and he’s spent it very wisely. He has put together a team with threats, not only in the starting eleven but coming off the bench they’ve got very strong, proven, Championship players who can give anyone a problem.

‘Billy is a very good manager and a very good coach. He has tried to keep everyone at Forest level-headed but I think there is a real chance they could get automatic promotion this season.’

Forest boss Billy Davies told their official club website:

‘Forget about league positions, we don’t expect an easy game. We will only pick up points with hard work and determination.

‘That will apply against Sheffield Wednesday and in the 17 games that will follow.’

Nottingham Forest Team News:

Forest have no new injury or suspension concerns going into the clash, with just the long-term absentee Julian Bennett out on the sidelines.

That could mean he sticks with the same side that lost at Derby in the hope that they’ll prove themselves, or he could be tempted to make changes.

Davies does have a strong squad, one of the strongest in the league this season thanks to the amount of cash spent in the summer, and he could call upon players such as Dele Adebola or Lewis McGugan to come in to the starting line-up to shake things up from last weekend.

Player to watch: Paul Anderson

Anderson poses one of the biggest attacking threats in the Championship and he’ll give the Owls defence all kinds of problems. Quick, skilled, and packing a good shot, the Owls defence will have to be at the top of their game to contain him.

Wednesday Team News:

Wednesday will be without right-back Lewis Buxton for the trip to Nottingham after he was ruled out of action for four weeks.

That gives a chance for Frank Simek to come back in and stake a claim for his place at right-back, though, something that Wednesdayites have been calling on to happen anyway.

Irvine will have no other fresh injury concerns for the clash though.

Francis Jeffers is expected to edge nearer to full-fitness although he won’t be making a starting role in the blue and white just yet.

It means Irvine is set to stick with the same side that beat Plymouth last weekend, except Buxton.

Player to watch: Frank Simek

Wednesday’s defence are no doubt going to be tested all afternoon and it’ll be a bit of a baptism of fire for Simek after weeks of starting on the subs’ bench. Good luck, Frankie!

Match Facts & Stats

Head-to-Head:

Forest wins: 48

Wednesday wins: 55

Draws: 26

Last Time Out:

Wednesday 1-1 Forest

12/09/09 – Hillsborough.

Forest took the lead as early as the second minute in the reverse fixture at S6, Dexter Blackstock giving them the early lead. But Marcus Tudgay ensured the Owls got something from the game with his 39th minute strike.

Form:

Forest: L-W-W-L-W

Wednesday: W-L-W-W-W

Next Fixtures:

v Blackpool (H) 9/2/10

v Doncaster (H) – 16/2/10