Wednesday return to league action on Saturday with a trip to what’s sure to be a cold Boundary Park to face an in-form Oldham Athletic side.
Gary Megson’s men will be keen for victory to retain their top-two place going into next week’s crunch clash with promotion-rivals Huddersfield Town, but the Latics will be no pushovers, especially on their own patch.
The Owls will still be slight favourites to travel back across the Pennines with all three points but Oldham have been in-form of late, losing just once in their last ten matches in all competitions.
Latics manager Paul Dickov told Oldham’s official website:
‘Since Gary took over he has shown what a good manager he is. The were struggling, but he has picked them up and they are second in the table and one of the favourites to go up.
‘We know it will be a tough game, but it is a great one for us coming in-between two cup ties and one we feel we can win.
‘Yes, the cup games are fantastic and the carrot is there in both the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy and FA Cup, but I have spoken to the boys at length about all the games coming up and they are determined to keep in touch with the play offs.
‘All our focus is on winning the game against Sheffield Wednesday. We have shown with our recent form, unbeaten in six games having won our last four here, that we are a good team.
‘We are looking to continue that, and I feel we can get even better and there is no better test for us than playing Sheffield Wednesday to see how far we have come.’
Oldham Athletic Team News:
Oldham will come into the game in confident mood thanks to their good run of form, with their latest success coming in the midweek JP Trophy victory over Bradford which sent them through to the area final.
That victory, however, was tinged with bookings to defender Nathan Clark and midfielder James Wesolowski, who will both sit out this weekend’s game due to the cards being their fifth yellows of the season.
Dean Furman will be available for selection by boss Paul Dickov again after serving his own one-match ban, while Zander Diamond has fully recovered from a knee injury and could feature in the matchday squad.
Former Wednesday striker Shefki Kuqi is expected to start for the Latics.
Player to watch: Shefki Kuqi
The Finland international was a bit like Marmite during his time at S6 – some loved him and some felt the opposite. As with all former players, Kuqi will be keen to score against his former employers and help the Latics continue their rise up the table. He’s Oldham’s top scorer so far this season with eight league goals and 13 in all competitions.
Wednesday Team News:
Owls boss Gary Megson is set to ring the changes to the side that beat Aldershot in the FA Cup last weekend.
A number of first-team regulars were either suspended, cup-tied or not allowed to play as part of loan arrangements for last weekend’s second round game and the majority are expected to return.
Stephen Bywater should return in goal, while wing wizard Ben Marshall will also come back into the starting eleven. Danny Batth has served a one-match ban so will partner Rob Jones at the heart of the Owls’ defence.
Sanchez Watt could also be included in the matchday squad for the first time since his loan move from Arsenal last month.
Midfielder James O’Connor will miss out with a shin injury and Gary Madine and Lewis Buxton are also still sidelined with medium-term injuries.
Player to watch: Ryan Lowe
Lowe has been given his chance in the starting eleven since an injury to top-scorer Gary Madine and Wednesday have been looking to him for goals. He’s succeeded so far, and will be looking to add more to his tally at Boundary Park.
Match Facts & Stats
Oldham wins: 14
Wednesday wins: 20
Last Time Out:
Oldham 2-3 Wednesday
Boundary Park, 8/3/2011
Chris Sedgwick scored twice and Mark Beevers also netted as Wednesday edged a five-goal thriller the last time the sides met earlier this year. Filipe Morais and Dale Stephens scored in reply for Oldham.
v Huddersfield Town (H) – 17/12/11