Wednesday face one of their toughest matches of the season so far this weekend when they visit perhaps the surprise package of npower League One in Hartlepool United.
Mick Wadsworth’s men are one of just two unbeaten sides remaining in the division going into the clash with the Owls and have won their last four games – leaving them fourth in the table.
Wednesday enjoyed three pretty emphatic wins over United last season but Hartlepool will be a different proposition this weekend. The trip to Victoria Park will be a big test for Gary Megson and his men, themselves in decent form and on the same points as ‘Pool having played a game more.
Owls boss Gary Megson told the official SWFC website:
‘It will be a big test for us, this will be Hartlepool’s biggest game of the season and their biggest crowd. They will be looking forward to it.
‘I’m sure they will come at us but we have to make sure we’re strong enough to deal with that initially.
‘We’ve conceded too many goals away from home in the early parts of the game and given ourselves a mountain to climb.’
Hartlepool boss Mick Wadsworth told the official ‘Pools website:
‘It will be tough, we know that. We had a poor record against them last season but things have changed now – we’re better and we have to go in to these games with an absolute belief that we will win.
‘If last seasons results play on anyone’s mind then I hope it’s in a positive sense. We let ourselves down on three occasions against them last year and that’s something we need to correct.
‘If we’re going to stay at the top the division then these are the games we need to match the opposition and come out with a result.
‘We’ll have to be at our best on Saturday and I think if we are then we will have a fantastic chance of winning the game.
‘It’s a really exciting day – they have big support but we have fantastic support so it really should be a great afternoon. I can’t wait to be honest.’
Hartlepool United Team News:
Hartlepool have won their last four league matches and are unbeaten in League One so far this term, so manager Mick Wadsworth will be tempted to stick with the winning formula.
He should have Stephen Wright back from a knee injury which kept him out of the trip to Bournemouth, and Wright will be pushing for a return to the first team.
Colin Larkin is the only real doubt for ‘Pool after he picked up a knock in a reserve clash with Scunthorpe United in midweek.
Former Newcastle United striker Lomana Lua Lua, who was linked with a move to Wednesday earlier in the season, has been training with ‘Pools but Wadsworth is remaining coy on a possible deal for the hitman.
Player to watch: Nolberto Solano
Hartlepool’s move for Nolberto Solano was a shock one, for League One at least, but the former Newcastle United midfielder has made
big impact at the Victoria Ground in the six games he’s played for them so far.
Wednesday Team News:
Wednesday will definitely be without the services of David Prutton, who’s sidelined with a thigh injury, and Jermaine Johnson, who will sit out the final game of a three-match suspension.
It could mean Megson opts for the same starting eleven that eased by Exeter City 3-0 at S6 last weekend. Chris Lines and James O’Connor came into the Owls midfield and the duo are likely to keep their places.
Chris O’Grady will be pushing for a first start for the club after he returned from injury as a substitute in the victory over the Grecians, while Ryan Lowe is set to continue his return to full fitness with a place on the Owls’ bench.
Player to watch: Gary Madine
Goal machine Madine is the league’s top scorer and he’ll be looking to maintain his fine run of form at Victoria Park with more goals to guide Wednesday to victory. Madine has netted nine goals so far this term.
Match Facts & Stats
Hartlepool wins: 1
Wednesday wins: 8
Last Time Out:
Wednesday 2-0 Hartlepool
A Tommy Miller penalty and Gary Madine goal was enough to give the Owls comfortable victory against their visitors. It was the third time in three matches Wednesday had put ‘Pools to the sword last term.
v Chesterfield (H) – 8/10/11
v Sheffield United (A) – 16/10/11