WEDNESDAY will be hoping for some early Christmas cheer at Hillsborough this weekend when they host promotion-chasing rivals Huddersfield Town in the final game before the Christmas period.
Both sides are going strong at the top of the table but Huddersfield’s recent blip, which saw their fantastic unbeaten run ended by back-to-back defeats, has made Gary Megson’s men slight favourites for the clash.
Wednesday are unbeaten at home in the league and will be looking to cement their place in the top two, while the Terriers will be looking to get their season back on track.
It’s going to be a Christmas cracker.
Owls boss Gary Megson told the official SWFC site:
‘Every game we play is a big game and I always tell the players this. This is a big game because of the respective positions of both clubs in League 1.
‘The main focus for us is to win games. We just say every time we play, we want to win and we take whatever that brings afterwards.’
Terriers boss Lee Clark told the official Huddersfield website:
‘Sheffield Wednesday are doing really well; they are picking up lots of points. They are a big, powerful team who work extremely hard for each other and they have a fantastic crowd behind them in a lovely ground – I love Hillsborough. It’s what I call a ‘proper football match’ against a team who are doing extremely well – I have a huge amount of respect for them.
‘If we’re right at it, we can cause them problems. I’m looking forward to the game so much – it’s a fantastic one and there could be anything between 25,000 and 30,000 there. It’s a potential Premiership football game in terms of the crowd, the atmosphere and the arena we’re playing in. I’m buzzing for the weekend.
‘This is the right game for us after Bournemouth, one hundred percent.’
Wednesday Team News:
Owls boss Gary Megson could be tempted to stick with the same starting eleven that won 2-0 at Oldham Athletic last weekend, with no fresh injury or suspension concerns going into the game with the Terriers.
Sanchez Watt made his debut at Boundary Park following his loan move from Premier League Arsenal and he could make his bow at Hillsborough alongside Chris O’Grady in attack.
Ryan Lowe will be pushing for a recall after netting the Owls’ second against the Latics last weekend.
Player to watch: Sanchez Watt
Should the on-loan Arsenal man keep his place and make his Hillsborough debut, Owls fans will be keen to see the qualities he can give to Wednesday, and keen to see if he can bag the goals in Gary Madine’s absence.
Huddersfield Town Team News:
There’s been mixed news on the injury front for the Terriers coming into the match.
Full-back Jack Hunt is set to boost Town with a return to action this weekend, despite looking likely to miss out after being stretchered off in last week’s home defeat against Bournemouth.
But Northern Ireland midfielder Damien Johnson will miss out after suffering a hamstring injury, which he played through against the Cherriers last week.
Striker Alan Lee will serve the final game of a three-match suspension and Jon ‘The Beast’ Parkin is set to continue in his place in attack, next to Jordan Rhodes.
Goalkeeper Alex Smithies remains sidelined with a knee injury.
Player to watch: Jordan Rhodes
Rhodes has been prolific both for club and country this season and he’ll be the biggest threat for the Owls defence.
Match Facts & Stats
Wednesday wins: 14
Huddersfield wins: 22
Last Time Out:
Huddersfield 1-0 Wednesday
Galpharm Stadium, 3/1/2011
Wednesday’s 2011 got off to a bad start when the sides last met, with Town running out 1-0 winners. Anthony Pilkington’s first-half screamer proved enough for the Terriers.
v Walsall (A) – 26/12/11