Wednesday return to Hillsborough action for the first time in almost a month tomorrow following a mini festive break they could have done without in npower League One.
The Owls saw two home games postponed over the Christmas and New Year period and will be keen to return to home soil for a crucial clash against Charlton Athletic.
The Owls go into the game on the back of a morale-boosting FA Cup third round victory at Bristol City, and with some new signings on board.
But a 1-0 defeat at Huddersfield Town last time out in the league will mean Alan Irvine’s men need to start picking up three points consistently if they’re to secure an automatic promotion spot.
Owls boss Alan Irvine told the official SWFC site:
‘It’s a big game there’s no doubt about it. We have a lot of big games between now and the end of the season. Charlton will be expecting to be competing at the top of the division as are we.’
‘They have got threats, there’s no doubt about it.
‘They are missing Paul Benson who is a big player for them because he is suspended but having said that they have brought in Nathan Eccleston from Liverpool who is a talented young player.
‘I felt we were unfortunate to lose the game down at Charlton and I expect another tight game on Saturday. If we play at our best we can win but if we don’t Charlton have the ability to punish us.’
Wednesday Team News:
Wednesday fans will get a first look at two new additions to the squad in the January transfer window.
Michael Morrison, from Leicester City, and Reda Johnson, from Plymouth Argyle have both bolstered the Owls’ squad this month and Owls fans will get a first look at them at Hillsborough.
The duo both played in the 3-0 success at Bristol City in the FA Cup last weekend and Owls boss Alan Irvine could well stick with the same side, with no fresh injury or suspension concerns.
Player to watch: Michael Morrison
Owls fans will be keen to see both Reda Johnson and Michael Morrison in action for the first time but, with Morrison coming to S6 with such a good reputation from Leicester, Owls fans will be looking forward to seeing what the fuss is about.
Charlton Athletic Team News:
Charlton are set to appoint former player Chris Powell as their new manager, but it’s unknown whether he’ll take control immediately for a trip to S6.
It could be that Powell, who has been a first-team coach at Leicester City, takes to the Hillsborough stands but doesn’t take control of his side fully.
It’ll mean the Addicks are well up for impressing their new boss in their second meeting against Wednesday this season – the Londoners won their home clash.
Nathan Ecclestone could be in-line for a debut for Charlton after the 20-year-old striker penned a loan deal at The Valley from Liverpool this week.
Lee Martin will be available for selection again after being cup-tied for Charlton in their 3-0 FA Cup loss at Tottenham Hotspur at the weekend.
But Kelly Youga remains sidelined with a knee injury and Chris Solly is also expected to miss out despite returning to training this week following an ankle injury.
Akpo Sodje is fit and available but the former Owl is expected to have to make do with a place on the bench.
Player to watch: Nathan Ecclestone
The Liverpool youngster is almost certain to play some part in the match and will be keen to enjoy a good debut against Charlton’s promotion rivals. The striker comes with bags of potential and will be a big threat to the Owls’ new-look defence.
Match Facts & Stats
Last Time Out:
Charlton 1-0 Wednesday
The Valley, 30/10/10
Wednesday were edged out by a single goal in the reverse clash back in October at The Valley. Scott Wagstaff’s 23rd-minute strike was enough to give the hosts the three points.
Wednesday wins: 18
Charlton wins: 13
v Leyton Orient (A) – 22/01/11
v Yeovil (H) – 25/01/11