Wednesday will look for a return to winning ways on home soil this weekend when Hartlepool United visit Hillsborough in npower League One.
Leaders Charlton Athletic inflicted the first home defeat on Wednesday this season last time out but the Owls will need to bounce straight back to keep their automatic promotion hopes alive.
Nothing less than three points will do for Gary Megson and his men but Neale Cooper’s mid-table ‘Pools will look to upset the form book.
Owls boss Gary Megson told the official SWFC website:
‘There is always going to be a response from us in terms of effort because the players have got a great deal of pride.
‘It hurts to get beaten; it certainly hurts to get beaten at home.
‘But we’ve got good characters in this changing room and it’s not by luck we have that, it’s been done on purpose.
‘When you look at players, you don’t just look if they are talented, if they are quick and if they control the ball well, you’re looking for good characters and we have them here.’
Hartlepool manager Neale Cooper told the United official site:
‘We’re all looking forward to Saturday but we know it will be hard because I’ve been told they are a big, powerful side who are a threat, particularly from set-plays.
‘We’ve got to try and defend higher up the park, try not to give away any daft free-kicks or give them an advantage – but also have a right good go at them too.
‘The lads will need to be switched on from the word go and give nothing away in the early stages that will give their crowd a lift.
‘But if they all give me the same kind of effort and commitment I’ve seen in the last couple of weeks then I can’t ask any more than that.’
Wednesday Team News:
The Owls will need to plug the gap left by winger Ben Marshall, who’s returned to parent club Stoke City. Wednesday are understood to be still keen on a return but any deal is still up in the air.
Megson revealed he looked to get a replacement for wing wizard in this week but was knocked back by all five clubs. It’ll mean new arrival Mike Jones, who made his debut last weekend, needs to show Wednesdayites just why Megson brought him to the club.
The Owls boss has no injury or suspension concerns but could be tempted to make changes following last weekend’s defeat. Players such as Ryan Lowe and David Prutton will be pushing for a starting role.
Player to watch: Mike Jones
Wednesday will need some creativity in midfield and, with Ben Marshall departing last week, new signing Jones will be key. He made his debut last weekend with little impact and will be keep to impress Owls fans this time out.
Hartlepool United Team News:
Hartlepool forward James Poole is pushing for a return but is rated as doubtful for the trip to S6.
Poole, the club’s top-scorer, has been missing since Boxing Day after sustaining a hamstring injury and will be assessed by the club’s medical staff before the trip to Hillsborough.
But the visitors could be boosted with the return of Andy Monkhouse to the starting eleven. Monkhouse had to make do with a spot on the bench last time out due to an illness but make the eleven on Saturday.
Adam Boyd is also available for Pools boss Cooper but Colin Nish is still a way off first team action despite returning to training. Former Owl Ritchie Humphreys is expected to be on the bench.
Player to watch: Scott Flinders
Hartlepool will be expected a bit of an onslaught from the Owls following the loss against Charlton and Flinders will need to be at the top of his game. United have kept clean sheets in their last two matches.
Match Facts & Stats
Wednesday wins: 9
Hartlepool wins: 1
Last Time Out:
Hartlepool 0-1 Wednesday
Victoria Park, 1/10/11
Reda Johnson’s first-half goal proved enough to give Wednesday all three points the last time the sides met in the reverse fixture earlier this season.
v Scunthorpe (A) – 24/01/12
v Blackpool (A, FA Cup) – 28/01/12