It’s starting to move in to the ‘business end’ of the Championship season, and Wednesday need to start picking up wins on home soil if they’re to drag themselves out of the bottom three.
Cardiff City are the visitors to Hillsborough on Saturday, where Owls’ boss Brian Laws will be focussing on three points which could well drag them out of the drop zone should results go there way.
The Bluebirds have not seen their season go they way they’d imagined during the pre-season after some high profile arrivals, but they’re still within reach of the play-off spots and will be looking to bag all three points against the Owls.
Owls boss Brian Laws told the official SWFC website:
‘We were disappointed to lose the Coventry game because we were feeling very confident preparing for that match and it would have been good to go into the Cardiff game on the back of a win.
‘Cardiff are a good side in good form and it will probably bring the best out of us. I think the players tend to treat these games slightly differently when they know they are playing a good side at the top of the division, trying to get into the play-offs.
‘We played them not so long ago and I thought we gave them a bit too much respect in the first half but we got about them in the second half and we certainly need to do that in this match from the beginning so that they don’t get a foothold in the game. Again, I will be asking the supporters to get right behind us because they are a vital cog in our wheel.’
Wednesday Team News:
Wednesday will be given a huge boost with the addition of young Chelsea starlet Ben Sahar to the attacking fold.
Sahar completed his initial one-month loan deal at S6 yesterday and is likely to go straight in to the squad, but Brian Laws will have to decide whether to partner the Israeli international with Marcus Tudgay or fellow loanee Enoch Showmni.
The Owls’ postponed clash with Coventry City in midweek could well have proved a blessing in disguise, with midfielder Graham Kavanagh pushing for a place against his former club after suffering a hamstring problem last time out.
Richard Wood is set to continue in defence after coming through the 0-0 stalemate with Charlton unscathed, and Laws has no fresh injury concerns ahead of the clash with the Bluebirds.
But Francis Jeffers, Frank Simek, Steve Watson, Etienne Esajas and Akpo Sodje all out through injury.
Player to watch: Ben Sahar
It just has to be, doesn’t it? But could it be that the huge build-up for the young Chelsea star will be a tad underwhelming? We hope not, with Sahar brought in to grab the goals that will help steer Wednesday to safety.
Cardiff City Team News:
Glenn Loovens will be missing for Cardiff boss Dave Jones after picking up his tength booking of the season last time out at Coventry, and will start his two-game ban at Hillsborough.
But Darren Purse could well got the nod to return to the heart of the Bluebirds defence, offering a stern test for Owls’ new-boy Sahar and his strike partner.
Former Owl Steve Maclean could well have featured at Hillsborough but has since moved on to pastures new with Plymouth Argyle.
But one man who forced Macca out of the team, Jimmy Floyd-Hasselbaink , will be full of confidence after netting in the Bluebirds’ FA Cup victory at Ninian Park last weekend.
Player to watch: Jimmy Floyd-Hasselbaink
The former Leeds man is a huge threat tt this level, and although sometimes doesn’t get as involved in the game as he should, can force a snap-shot towards Lee Grant’s goal at any moment. Will be a tough task for young pair Richard Wood and Mark Beevers in the Owls’ defence.
Match Facts & Stats
Wednesday wins: 21
Cardiff wins: 21
Last Time Out:
Cardiff City 1-0 Wednesday
Ninian Park, Saturday January 12
Jimmy Floyd-Hasselbaink’s sole strike was enough to give Cardiff all three points against the Owls in the reverse fixture just last month.
Wednesday: Grant, Bullen, Beevers, Wood, Spurr, Kavanagh (Wallwork 19), Johnson (Burton 89), Small, Bolder, Tudgay, Showunmi. Subs Not Used: Gilbert, Hinds, McAllister.
Cardiff: Enckelman, McNaughton, Capaldi, Johnson, Loovens, Rae, Whittingham (Sinclair 90), McPhail (Blake 90), Ramsey, Parry, Hasselbaink (Thompson 76). Subs Not Used: Oakes, Purse.
v Barnsley (A) – 01/03/08
v West Brom (H) – 04/03/08
v QPR (H) – 08/03/08