Wednesday face arguably their biggest game of the season this weekend with a proverbial ‘six pointer’ against fellow strugglers Reading at S6.
Both sides are desperate for points to climb away from danger in the Championship, but it could well be much more important for Owls boss Brian Laws, who has come under immense criticism of late.
The unthinkable, a defeat for Wednesday, could well see them drop into the bottom three.
Victory, on the other hand, could well lift a huge weight off Laws’ shoulders going into the hectic Christmas fixture schedule.
Brian Laws told the Sheffield Star:
‘As far as I’m concerned, it’s business as usual. We talk every day; nothing has been talked about on that agenda.
‘We’re under pressure every time we don’t win.
‘We’ll take the pressure when it comes. If you’re not winning, you expect some criticism (from fans).
‘We’re all pulling in the right direction to get a result on Saturday.’
Reading boss Brendan Rodgers told the official Royals website:
‘Wednesday come into this game on the back of a disappointing result, but that was against West Brom who are a very good team.
‘The game will be a difficult one, but one we have to go into and try and put the disappointment of Derby behind us. We have to go again.’
Wednesday Team News:
Brian Laws has no fresh injury concerns going into the clash with Reading, although he could well make changes following a dire performance in the 4-0 thumping at home to West Brom last weekend.
Loan additions Tom Soares and Warren Feeney both had to settle for a place on the bench against the Baggies, but both could well take a more important role this weekend.
Soares is the most likely to be given the nod for a start, although Cardiff City man Feeney will also be pushing for a place with the Owls strike force firing blanks in recent weeks.
Captain Darren Purse will be available for selection, while Mark Beevers will also be hoping for a start at the back after coming on as a first-half substitute last weekend – Tommy Spurr’s place could well be under threat.
But Laws has promised big changes in the team before, following poor results, with only one or changes coming about – it could be the same this weekend.
Player to watch: Marcus Tudgay
The Owls’ top scorer has been in poor form of late, and Wednesday, and Laws, will be hoping that he returns to top form to help fire the Owls to three crucial points against Brendan Rodgers’ side. Tudders won’t have seen Wednesday in this position when he signed his contract, and he’ll have to put in a shift this weekend to help them out of it.
Reading Team News:
Reading also come into the game on the back of a defeat after falling to a 2-1 loss against Derby County at Pride Park last Saturday.
Rodgers, a Wednesday fan, will be forced into making a change though as former Barnsley and Sheffield United man Brian Howard misses out with a broken jaw.
Shane Long is also suspended for the trip to Hillsborough, with Noel Hunt out for the season, but Simon Church will be given the nod in attack to try and help Reading bag the goals they’ve been desperately lacking so far this term.
Player to watch: Jobi McAnuff
Wednesday have had trouble defending lively wingers this season and they could be in for another torrid time, this time against Jobi McAnuff. The former Crystal Palace and Watford man is Reading’s key attacking threat, and Brian Laws and his men will no doubt be looking to nullify it this weekend.
Match Facts & Stats
Wednesday wins: 5
Reading wins: 5
Last Time Out:
Wednesday 1-2 Reading
Sean McAllister gave the Owls the advantage against Reading at S6 last time out, but they couldn’t hold on to their lead as Kevin Doyle levelled ten minutes into the second half and then Shane Long netted a late winner with less than ten minutes to go to give Reading all the points.
Form – Last 5
v Doncaster Rovers (A) – 8/12/09
v Leicester City (A) – 12/12/09