Wednesday welcome Coventry City to Hillsborough following the international break, and three points are a must against Chris Coleman’s hit and miss Sky Blues.
It’ll have been a long two weeks for Brian Laws and his men following their 3-0 defeat at Derby County last time out, and the subsequent hard work on the Middlewood Road training pitch.
The 3pm kick-off against City can’t come soon enough for the Owls, while the visitors will be looking to pick up some form of their own following an indifferent start to the season.
Owls midfielder Michael Gray said in his BBC Sport blog:
‘It’s been a tough fortnight without a game and it’s time to take off the running shoes and get the boots on again.
‘The game against Derby County was put to bed early. After a long chat – and what I would call a video nasty – it was out on to the training ground to work our socks off.
‘As you can imagine, the gaffer wasn’t in the greatest of moods and neither were the lads. I’m not one for moping around and thinking the world is going to end. The best thing to do is get on to the training ground and work to put things right.’
Wednesday Team News:
Boss Brian Laws has promised to make changes following the dismal showing against Derby two weeks ago, but the question is just how many he’ll make.
The main doubts are over defenders Lewis Buxton and Darren Purse, with Frank Simek and Mark Beevers the likely replacements respectively.
American Simek is still looking to gain full fitness though, with a start in a key match unlikely, and with Richard Hinds ruled out, it could mean another chance for former Stoke man Buxton.
Beevers is knocking on the door to replace captain Purse at the heart of the defence though, and it’ll be interesting to see just who Laws goes with.
Jermaine Johnson is also likely to regain a first team place after Etienne Esajas’s recent good form stalled in the last two matches, while Tommy Miller and Sean McAllister will both be gunning for midfield roles.
Luke Varney should be recalled for the Owls after he was ineligible against the Rams, with Leon Clarke likely to drop to the bench alongside Akpo Sodje.
I’m sure Brian will spring a few surprises on us, though…
Player to watch: Luke Varney
While all eyes could be on Lewis Buxton and/or Darren Purse on Saturday, they might not even be playing, so I’ve gone for the returning Luke Varney, whose presence was sorely missed against his parent club last week. Defence may have been a problem, but we didn’t really look like scoring, either.
Coventry City Team News:
Coventry have no fresh injury worries for the trip to Hillsborough, and Chris Coleman could well field the same side that were held to a 1-1 draw against local rivals Leicester City last time out.
The Sky Blues do have one new name that they can throw into the squad though, with highly-rated AFC Wimbledon defender Chris Hussey penning a deal at the Ricoh Arena.
Leon Best will no doubt want to return to his former loan club to continue his impressive goal-scoring form, which seems to have caught the eye of Wolves if media reports are to be believed.
Player to watch: Leon Best
The former Southampton man enjoyed a decent loan spell in the blue and white stripes a few years ago, and he’ll have that extra glint in his eye to get a goal back at his former club. Scoring five goals in as many games, he scooped the player of the month award for September and will be a real handful alongside Clinton Morrison in the City attack.
Match Facts & Stats
Wednesday wins: 27
Coventry wins: 31
Last Time Out:
Coventry 2-0 Wednesday
Ricoh Arena, 28/12/08.
Wednesday had their Christmas spirit well and truly ended with a lacklustre showing at Coventry which saw Clinton Morrison open the scoring 11 minutes in before Robbie Simpson wrapped the game up in the last ten minutes.
Wednesday: Grant, Buxton, Purse, Wood, Spurr, Gray, O’Connor (Miller 76), Potter, Esajas (Johnson 63), Tudgay, Clarke (Sodje 63). Unused substitutes: O’Donnell, Simek, Beevers, McAllister.
Coventry: Westwood, Wright, van Aanholt, Cranie, Ward, Clingan (Osbourne 71), Gunnarsson, Cork, Eastwood, Best, Morrrison. Subs: Konstantopoulos, Walker, Cain, Grandison, Clarke, Jeffers.
v Preston North End (H) – 20/10/09
v Watford (A) – 23/10/09