Wednesday kick-off their npower League One campaign by making history as they welcome Dagenham & Redbridge to Hillsborough on Saturday.
The Owls have never met the Daggers in a competition match and the clash will be arguably Dagenham’s biggest ever league match following their promotion from League Two last season.
The visitors will be n doubt high on confidence coming into the game, while the Owls will be desperate to kick-off their new campaign with three points.
The bookmakers may be heavily in favour of Alan Irvine’s men for the first match of the season but if the Daggers were to enjoy a victory in S6, the first day of the season is the time to do it.
Owls boss Alan Irvine told the official SWFC site:
‘We have to match Dagenham’s enthusiasm, work rate, desire, determination and effort.
‘We have to make sure we do not fall down as far as any of those things are concerned as one thing’s for sure, they will see this as a massive game and rightly so.’
He continued: ‘There are good teams that are going to come and play against us and we can’t just turn up thinking that we’re going to win. It’s going to take a lot of patience and hard work.
‘We have to make sure we’re competitive in every game, and that’ll give us the chance of competing at the top of the league.’
Wednesday Team News:
Wednesday will definitely be without the services of injured midfielder Tommy Miller, who has been ruled out with a hamstring injury.
Owls boss Alan Irvine has also ruled winger Jermaine Johnson as doubtful to feature in the opener but will give him until the last minute to prove his fitness.
Wednesdayites will be keen to find out just who Irvine starts for the season opener after the Owls boss tinkered with his squad throughout the close season matches.
Clinton Morrison may have to be happy with a place on the bench after making just one substitute appearance over the summer, in the 1-0 defeat at Doncaster Rovers at the weekend.
But Wednesday have no other fresh injury concerns going into the match.
Nicky Weaver will make his debut as a contracted Wednesday player after securing a one-year deal with the Owls yesterday afternoon.
Player to watch: Nicky Weaver
There will be a whole host of players to keep an eye on tomorrow after Irvine rang the changes in terms of his playing squad over the summer. But Nicky Weaver, having to plug such a big gap left by Lee Grant, will be the one to keep an eye on as Owls fans hope he’s up to the job this season. Hopefully, though, we won’t see too much of Nicky tomorrow…
Dagenham & Redbridge Team News:
Dagenham & Redbridge boss John Still should have a full squad to select from for the club’s first ever meeting with the Owls.
The Daggers will be high on confidence following their League Two success last season and will no doubt prove a tough nut to crack for Alan Irvine’s men, despite being the huge bookmakers favourites.
The visitors will still have Paul Benson in their ranks following a number of rejected bids from League One rivals Charlton Athletic for his services.
Benson will be the visitors’ main threat and no doubt one to watch as far as the visitors, and the Owls defence, are concerned.
Boss Still rested a number of his first team players for their last pre-season friendly of the summer so the former non-league side will travel to S6 with a clean bill of health and huge enthusiasm.
Player to watch: Paul Benson
Benson was Dagenham’s leading scorer last season and, if they manage to keep hold of him this season, his goals will be vital if they want to stay in the division. Benson has been linked with Charlton Athletic, but the Addicks have had three bids turned down for him.
Match Facts & Stats
Wednesday wins: 0
Dagenham wins: 0
Last Time Out:
The Owls have yet to play Dagenham & Redbridge in a competitive match, making Saturday’s season opener an historic game for both sides.
Wednesday: The Owls come into the new season on the back of just one draw and four defeats from their last five friendly matches. Only a 1-1 draw at Darlington avoided a clean sweep of defeats, but that shouldn’t worry Owls fans too much ahead of Saturday’s kick-off.
Dagenham & Redbridge: In contrast to Wednesday, the Daggers lost just two of their friendly matches over the summer, and a highlight included beating Norwich City 1-0 and holding Doncaster Rovers to a 1-1 draw at the Keepmoat Stadium.
The Tyne & Wear referee will be the man in the middle for the Owls opener, assisted by Alf Greenwood and Iain Siddall.
v Bury (H, LC) – 10/8/10
v Colchester United (A) – 14/8/10