Wednesday travel to lowly Luton looking to get their first win of the year under their belt – but Owls boss Brian Laws knows the task will be a tough one as the Hatters look for points to secure their Championship status.
Mike Newell has lost the backbone of his side throughout the season, but he will be hoping his men can continue their fine form over the Owls with three vital points – and Newell will be hoping Drew Talbot comes up trumps against his former side for the first time since moving south in a £250,000 deal.
Owls boss Brian Laws told the official site:
‘We’ve been in training over the weekend to get ready for a difficult game at Luton,’ Laws told the official SWFC website.
‘Results went well for us over the weekend, no one really overtook us so we haven’t lost any ground and now it is a case of putting a run together ourselves. We’ve already shown we’re capable of doing that.’
‘The players have been superb in training and have responded really well. I think the inclusion of Steve Watson has brought a bit of calmness to the defence and has allowed the players around him to express themselves. I felt we finished the better side at Burnley and looked more likely to win. We need to take those positives to Luton.’
Luton Town Team News:
The big news for the Hatters – and for Owls fans – is that former Wednesday striker Drew Talbot could return to action from his sick bed to play against his former club for the first time since making the move to Kenilworth Road in January.
The pacey youngster missed the clash with Stoke at the weekend due to a stomach bug but has revealed he is fit to face his former teammates and net his first goal for Luton to lift them away from the drop zone.
Town boss Mike Newell has received a further boost ahead of the match with the news that defender Leon Barnett should be fit to return from a knee injury to bolster the Hatters back line.
But Chris Coyne, Warren Feeney and the skilful Ahmet Brkovic are all out injured for the tie.
Player to watch: Drew Talbot
It will be strange for Wednesday fans to see their former striker don the white and black of the Hatters – and knowing Wednesday’s luck with former players, Talbot will surely be one of the favourites to score on Tuesday night. He’s not scored since making his £250,000 move to Kenilworth Road, but he’ll fancy his chances against his former teammates.
Wednesday Team News:
Wednesday boss Brian Laws could welcome new signing Jermaine Johnson to make his first start for the Owls on the right wing, with Wade Small likely to make way and drop to the bench.
It seems a while since the former Bradford man put pen to paper on a deal at S6, but his three-match suspension picked up with the Bantamns means that tonight’s clash with the Hatters is the first chance of an outing in the blue and white stripes.
Other than that, Wednesday are expected to be unchanged for the trip to face one of their bogey teams, with loanee Steve Watson set to continue at the heart of the defence alongside Lee Bullen, while Graham Coughlan and Richard Wood remain sidelined.
Player to watch: Chris Brunt
The winger is the Owls top scorer so far this season and will provide the biggest threat for Wednesday with his long-range efforts and dangerous set-pieces. Will be key in supplying strikers Steve Maclean and Deon Burton with the ammunition to gun down the Hatters.
Match Facts & Stats
Wednesday 0-1 Luton – Hillsborough, 08/08/06
Wednesday’s slow start to the campaign continued as a Lewis Emmanuel strike on the stroke of half-time was all that separated the sides at Hillsborough in front of over 22,000 fans.
Luton: Beresford, Foley, Perrett (Keane 46), Heikkinen, Davis, Spring, Robinson, Bell (Langley 80), Morgan, Boyd (Emanuel 45), Runstrom. Subs not used: Brill , O’Leary.
Wednesday: Crossley; Simek, Bullen (c), Watson, Spurr; Small (Clarke 88), Lunt, Folly, Brunt; Burton, MacLean (Tudgay 88). Subs not used: Adamson, Gilbert, Beevers.
Barnsley v Hull
Birmingham v Sunderland
Burnley v Leicester
Coventry v Southampton
Ipswich v Wolverhampton
Leeds v QPR
Luton v Sheff Wed
Plymouth v Colchester
Preston v Norwich
Southend v Crystal Palace
West Brom v Cardiff
Derby v Stoke
Vs Southend United (H) – 24/02/07
Vs Leeds United (A) – 03/02/07
Vs Plymouth Argyle – 06/03/07