Wednesday will look to kick-off the New Year in winning fashion when Burnley make the trip across the Pennines to Hillsborough on Wednesday.
The Owls finished 2012 on a four-game unbeaten run and boss Dave Jones will be eager for his men to continue that form into 2013 and move away from the Championship relegation.
The Clarets will arrive in South Yorkshire in inconsistent form but will provide a tough challenge for Wednesday, who drew 3-3 with their opponents at Turf Moor earlier in the season.
Burnley’s former Owls goalkeeper Lee Grant told the official Clarets website:
“It will be really special for me. I had three really good years there and I am looking forward to going back. Hopefully I can come away with three points which would make the day even more special for me.
“They have had a couple of good result of late and it`s never easy to play at Hillsborough.
“They will be confident and looking to try and pull away from the danger zone down at the bottom.’
Wednesday Team News:
Wednesday will be without defender Reda Johnson, who sits out the match through suspension for collecting five bookings.
Joe Mattock could come in to replace Johnson, or Jeremy Helan could return to full-back despite his impressive performances in midfield if Jones opts against using Mattock.
Jay Bothroyd looks to have played his last match for the Owls with QPR recalling him from his loan spell, although Jose Semedo has returned to full fitness and could be named in the squad.
Jones may opt to tinker with his attacking option due to the frantic festive fixture schedule, with Mamady Sidibe no doubt chomping at the bit to return to action after Gary Madine started in the 0-0 draw at Huddersfield, although Chris O’Grady will also be keen for some match action.
Player to watch: Jeremy Helan
The officials will be keeping a close eye on the Manchester City loan player this time, that’s for sure. Controversial decision at Huddersfield aside, Helan has looked a real threat on the wing for Wednesday in recent matches.
Burnley Team News:
Burnley will be left sweating over the fitness of top-scorer Charlie Austin.
Austin, who has bagged 23 goals so far this term, suffered a muscle injury and left the pitch early in his side’s 1-0 loss at home against Leicester last time out.
He bagged a hat-trick the last time the sides met at Turf Moor and will be a big miss for the visitors if he is not passed fit. But Martin Paterson and Sam Vokes will both be waiting to step-in.
Player to watch: Lee Grant
Grant spent three years at Wednesday and should get a warm welcome on his return to Hillsborough. Owls fans won’t want him to play too well, though.
Match Facts & Stats
Wednesday wins: 38
Burnley wins: 40
Last Time Out:
Burnley 3-3 Wednesday
Turf Moor, 2/10/12
Michail Antonio rescued a point for Wednesday with a great chance after Charlie Austin hit a hat-trick to give the hosts the lead. Chris O’Grady also netted twice for the Owls.
v MK Dons (H, FA Cup) – 5/1/13