WEDNESDAY and Southampton were both billed as pre-season favourites for the League One title but the two sides find themselves in very different positions ahead of Saturday’s clash at Hillsborough.
The Saints have endured a terrible start to the season and could set a new club record for consecutive games without a goal if they fail to find the net this weekend.
The sacking of Alan Pardew prompted the downturn in fortunes and former Scunthorpe United boss Nigel Adkins has been charged with the task of turning them round.
Wednesday, too, have ensured a tough spell in League One and go into the game on the back of three defeats on the spin, despite a fine start which had them at the top of the division.
So although the clash at S6 will be no top-of-the-table affair on Saturday, both sides will be desperate for three points to get their respective campaigns back on track.
Owls boss Alan Irvine told the official SWFC website:
‘I think Nigel did a great job for Scunthorpe but he probably felt the time was right to move. Although he’s moved down a division, Southampton are a bigger club than Scunthorpe and I mean no disrespect to Scunthorpe because they are a terrific club.
‘Southampton have a very good squad, not just for this league but also for the Championship so Nigel will know he’s got a great chance of achieving promotion with Southampton.’
Wednesday Team News:
Owls boss Alan Irvine has no fresh injury or suspension concerns going into the clash with the Saints.
Jermaine Johnson is the only definite absentee, but midfielder Tommy Miller will be putting his hand up for a starting role following his return from injury.
But despite the near-full strenght availability of the Wednesday squad, Irvine may well look to change his side following a run of three defeats on the spin.
Striker Clinton Morrison will be hoping to get a start, while Gary Teale is likely to return to the Owls midfield after only getting a spot on the bench in the 3-2 loss at Plymouth Argyle last weekend.
Player to watch: Darren Purse
The Wednesday defence was subject for some stick from the loss at Home Park last Saturday and Purse will have to work hard on getting the Owls’ back four back to their impressive form at the start of the campaign.
Southampton Team News:
The Saints could welcome Aaron Martin back to their squad this weekend after recovering from a back injury.
Boss Nigel Adkins has no fresh injury or suspension concerns for the trip to South Yorkshire but the former Iron boss could be tempted to shuffle his pack in a bid to get his first win as boss of the south coast club.
David Connelly, Adam Lallana and former Leeds United defender Frazer Richardson will all miss the match.
Player to watch: Rickie Lambert
The former Stockport County and Bristol Rovers man was tipped to be the league’s top scorer at the start of the campaign and the Saints will be relying on his goals to get their campaign back on track.
Match Facts & Stats
Wednesday wins: 33
Saints wins: 23
Last Time Out:
Wednesday 2-0 Southampton
A brace of strikes from on-loan striker Luke Varney gave Wednesday the spoils the last time the two sides met at Hillsborough.
v Oldham Athletic (H) – 28/09/10