Wednesday go in to a second South Yorkshire derby in three days when they face Barnsley on the back of a confidence boosting victory in the Steel City derby – but will just a day’s rest be too much for Brian Laws and his men?
Barnsley may well have endured a long trip down to Selhurst Park to fall to a 3-0 defeat at Crystal Palace on Saturday night, but with an extra day to prepare for the clash and Wednesday’s away record not too hot, Barnsley will surely fancy their chances.
But if Owls boss Brian Laws plays his cards right and makes the right changes to defeat Simon Davey’s strugglers, Wednesday could well find themsevles up in third in the Championship should other results go their way – and the bragging rights in South Yorkshire.
Wednesday skipper Richard Wood told the official SWFC website:
‘We’re in the top six now and that’s where we want to be. The hard part is staying there once you’re in there.
‘But we’ve given ourselves the perfect base to build on, now we need to strengthen away from home and start picking up some points, beginning with Barnsley on Tuesday.’
He added: ‘That’s four clean sheets in a row at home, you can’t ask for much more than that. We know where we need to improve, that’s away from home. We’re in for a light session on Monday to prepare for Barnsley, they are low in the league and low on confidence so that’s something we need to capitalise on.
Barnsley boss Simon Davey told the official BFC site:
‘We have a fully fit squad for the game against Sheffield Wednesday which has to be a first this season.
‘We have even had Michael Coulson come in and do some non-contact stuff this morning with us, which was very pleasing to see. It’s an injury free squad for the game.
‘We are all very disappointed after Saturday’s defeat at Palace. I thought there was nothing really in the game until the first goal. They took their chances and we did not but we were really on the back foot after the penalty. We lost our way and did not pass the ball well at all. We deserved to lose the game and that is the first time this season I have had to say that. We did not compete in any department on the day and did not do enough to win the game. We did not cope with them and we have to address that. We now have a local derby and it will be full of passion so we need to be back to what we were in the second half against Doncaster.
Barnsley Team News:
For the first time this season Barnsley boss Simon Davey will have a full squad to choose from as he looks to bag a vital three points against Wednesday.
Maybe the biggest selection headache for Davey will be which two strikers to put in attack with Barnsley struggling to find the back of the net in attack.
Iain Hume is an almost certain starter, and part of him will no doubt want revenge for Wednesday sending his former club Leicester City down last season, whil getting three vital points for the Reds.
But Maceo Rigters, Jon Macken and Kayode Odejayi will all be fighting for a starting spot in attack for the hosts in an attempt to find the back of the net and repeat the 4-1 romp of Doncaster Rovers last time out at Oakwell.
Player to watch: Iain Hume
The former Leicester man will no doubt be desperate to gain a little revenge for Wednesday sending former club Leicester down last season, and he’ll be keen to prove he’s worth the money Barnskey shelled out for him in the summer.
Wednesday Team News:
Wednesday will be without Jermaine Johnson after the Jamaican picked up a second yellow card despite being substituted in the Steel City derby on Sunday.
JJ is likely to be replaced by Etienne Esajas, a substitute on Sunday, while Wade Small could also return to the squad after missing out.
Laws also has the option of using Francis Jeffers for the first time this season, and he could well make his first start in place of Deon Burton, who missed a penalty on Sunday, while Akpo Sodje has also thrown his name in the hat after coming off the bench, though a start is unlikely for the former Port Vale man.
Laws will also have to decide whether Steve Watson will be able to take two games in three days despite Sunday’s heroics, with Jimmy Smith a possibility in the centre of midfield.
Player to watch: Etienne Esajas
Should the tricky winger start on Tuesday night, he’ll have to make a suitable replacement for the jet-heeled Johnson, and act as Wednesday’s main threat from midfield. If he recaptures his early season form that shouldn’t be a problem.
Match Facts & Stats
Barnsley wins: 19
Wednesday wins: 30
Last Time Out:
Barnsley 0-0 Wednesday
Probably one of the dullest South Yorkshire derbies in recent memory took place the last times the two teams met, with Burton O’Brien coming close to winning the game for Wednesday late on by hitting the woodwork from long range.
Barnsley: Muller, Hassell (Van Homoet 66), Foster, Guedes, Kozluk, Campbell-Ryce, De Silva, Leon (Macken 68), Devaney, Hume, Rigters (Odejayi 73). Subs Not Used: Steele, Colace.
Wednesday: Grant, McMahon, Beevers, Wood, Spurr, McAllister, Watson, O’Connor (Esajas 78), Johnson (Sodje 68), Burton (Jeffers 82), Tudgay. Subs Not Used: Smith, Buxton.
v Birmingham City (A) – 25/10/08
v Plymouth Argyle (H) – 28/10/08