ALAN Irvine faces his first real test as Wednesday boss as he looks for his Owls side to bounce back from their only defeat under his leadership against Argyle this afternoon.
Irvine had won all three of his matches in charge of Wednesday before Wednesday night’s 2-0 defeat at relegation rivals Scunthorpe United.
And Irvine and his troops need to show immediate improvement to bag what are a vital three points against another relegation candidate in Plymouth.
Argyle too, though, have shown improvement in recent weeks and will be far from an easy nut to crack.
Alan Irvine told the official SWFC website:
‘The best teams respond in the right manner to a defeat,’ he said.
‘There was no question that we were going to lose some games this season, we’re going to lose some more games and it’s how you respond to that that’s the most important thing.
‘I’m expecting the lads to now show the character that they’ve got, I want the leaders to come forward and I want to make sure that we get the right kind of response to what was obviously a disappointing result.
He continued: ‘It’s a huge game, which they all are, obviously this one carries a little bit more significance because of where we both are in the table but it’s just another one of all the big games we’re going to have to play between now and the end (of the season).’
Argyle boss Paul Mariner told the official Plymouth website:
‘Every game is very important to us,’ said Mariner. ‘Alan [Irvine] came in and he’s done a fantastic job, and we have mutual respect for each other.
‘He did a superb job at Preston and it’s going to be a difficult game, but one that we’re looking forward to.’
Wednesday Team News:
Owls boss Alan Irvine has no fresh injury or suspension concerns for the clash but could well opt to make changes from the side that lost at Scunthorpe in midweek.
Luke Varney will be one such player pushing for a starting role, but Irvine could also show faith in his players by selecting the same eleven to show they’re capable of bouncing back.
Francis Jeffers is set to undergo a late fitness test ahead of the clash and could be part of Irvine’s squad.
But Tommy Miller and Jermaine Johnson remain sidelined through injury for the visit of the Pilgrims.
Player to watch: Marcus Tudgay
Wednesday can’t settle for a draw against Argyle, and they’ll need leading scorer Marcus Tudgay to be at the top of his game to get his name on the scoresheet and bag a repeat double like he did against Peterborough last weekend.
Plymouth Argyle Team News:
Plymouth boss Paul Mariner has expressed his desire for his team to get the ball down and play some flowing football this weekend as Argyle play away from their less-than-impressive Home Park pitch.
Mariner has no fresh injury concerns for the trip to S6 and is set to name the same squad that defeated Derby County 1-0 last time out.
On-loan Fulham goalkeeper David Stockdale is set to keep his place after keeping a clean sheet on his debut.
There will be no place in the squad for former Owl Steve Maclean.
Player to watch: Rory Fallon
The former Barnsley striker has bagged himself a regular starting role under the leadership of Paul Mariner and is power and height is set to cause the Wednesday defence some problems.
Match Facts & Stats
Wednesday wins: 13
Plymouth wins: 11
Last Time Out:
Argyle 1-3 Wednesday
Home Park, 29/08/09
Wednesday bagged a rare away victory at Home Park with a 3-1 success earlier in the season. Richard Wood’s 33rd minute opener and Marcus Tudgay’s second-half spot-kick looked to have the Owls on the way to three points. But Alan Gow’s 80th minute striker kept the game alive before Tudgay struck his second on the stroke of full-time.
v Nottingham Forest (A) – 06/02/10