Wednesday will look to make impressive performances on the road count for something when they aim for three crucial Championship points against Derby this weekend.
The Owls have seen a positive return from three tough away games on the spin – but they’ll count for nothing unless Alan Irvine’s men back them up with home wins.
Derby arrive at Hillsborough still not having secured their own Championship fate, and Irvine will see the game as a ‘must win’ as he aims for those crucial five wins to keep the Owls in the division.
Irvine told the official SWFC website:
‘These games are tough, there is no question about it.
‘We can’t take it for granted that because we’ve had good results and good performances away from home, that will mean we’ll have a great performance and a great result at home – we have to work hard for that.
‘We’ve done very well against certainly three top sides – we now need to make sure we capitalise on that by having the same kind of performance and hopefully some good results in the next couple of games at home.’
Derby defender Nicky Hunt told the official Derby website:
‘Away from home we’ve been struggling of late, but we have the players to swing things around.
‘Sheffield Wednesday has to be the one where we turn things around; if we can get the points it will be huge for us.
‘Every game is massive, but given the positions we’re both in it is a big game and everyone is looking forward to it.’
Wednesday Team News:
On-loan striker Luke Varney will be unavailable for selection as part of the loan arrangements with his parent club.
Varney, on loan at S6 from the Rams, has been a constant in Wednesday’s first eleven of late but his sitting in the stands will mean Leon Clarke is expected to be given the nod in attack alongside Marcus Tudgay.
Jermaine Johnson is expected to be missing for the clash but his hamstring injury isn’t as bad as first feared, with the winger believed to be sidelined for around 1-2 weeks.
That could mean Tom Soares plays from the start on the wing, although Etienne Esajas will also be pushing for a starting role.
Francis Jeffers will also have his hand up for a rare start, but it’s more likely he’ll feature from the bench.
Player to watch: Leon Clarke
The big man is expected to be given the nod in attack and his performance will be key in the Owls’ fortunes. Clarke has been in good form over the last few games and Wednesdayites will be hoping he puts in a showing similar to the Owls last game on home soil, where he bagged both goals in a 2-0 win against Leicester.
Derby County Team News:
Derby have been poor on the road since the turn of the year and Rams boss Nigel Clough will be desperate for his men to put that right at Hillsborough.
He’ll be hoping goalkeeper Stephen Bywater is fit to return from a back injury which has kept him out for the last two matches.
Clough has no fresh injury or suspension concerns for the match, but Kris Commons, Lee Hendrie and Miles Addison are all out through injury.
Player to watch: Robbie Savage
Maybe not so ‘key’, but Savage will certainly be the one to watch. Someone who loves to be hated, the midfielder will no doubt try his best to wind the Wednesdayites up, and help Derby to a crucial win.
Match Facts & Stats
Wednesday wins: 41
Derby wins: 44
Last Time Out:
Derby 3-0 Wednesday
Pride Park, 3/10/09
Wednesday were put to the sword in comfortable style at Pride Park earlier in the season. Lee Croft’s 17th minute strike set the ball rolling for the Rams before goals from Jay McEveley and Rob Hulse sealed the win.
v Watford (H) – 23/03/10