Date: 28th March 2008 at 10:34am
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Another week on the Championship fixture calendar produces another chance for Brian Laws and his Wednesday charges to lift themselves out of the bottom three.

But it won’t be easy for the Owls, who face their second of three home matches on the spin, against a rejuvenated Stoke City side who are taking promotion very seriously this season.

Despite the bookmakers placing West Brom and Watford as firm favourites for promotion at the start of the season it’s City, currently sitting top, and Bristol City who are making all the right moves.

And Tony Pulis will be looking for nothing less than three points against Wednesday this weekend when he brings his troops to S6.

Vital Quotes:

Owls boss Brian Laws said:

“We battered Crystal Palace on Saturday and didn’t deserve that cruel blow of an equaliser right at the end.”

“Rather than hit the lads, the way they played has given them further belief that they can go on and eventually haul themselves to safety.

“We have a real tough game on Saturday. They don’t come any harder than facing the leaders of the division and we’ll need another big performance. But we are capable of it.

“We know what Stoke are about, but it’s tightened up a lot up there and the pressure will be getting to teams… and they will start to feel it.”

Wednesday Team News:

Wednesday boss Brian Laws has seen his squad boosted by the addition of West Brom striker Bartosz Slusarksi and the Polish hitman is expected to go straight in to the squad for the visit of the table-toppers.

But it’s unclear if the striker will go straight in to the starting eleven, with Ben Sahar expected to keep his place up front following his goal against Crystal Palace last week and his midweek strike for the Israel U21 side.

Deon Burton linked well to provide the goal for Sahar last week and Laws could be tempted to stick with the duo despite the arrival of Slusarksi.

Jermaine Johnson is fit and available for selection after serving his four-match ban for his sending off against West Brom but Laws is expected to stick with Franck Songo’o and Wade Small on the wings.

Steve Watson made a return to action for the reserve team’s 3-0 win over Sheffield United in midweek and he could feature on the bench again.

Player to watch: Ben Sahar

Wednesday need goals, and it seems Chelsea starlet Sahar has hit the right note at just the right time for Wednesday with two goals in a week.

Stoke City Team News:

Former Wednesday midfielder Glenn Whelan will be part of the squad to travel to Hillsborough, the first time Whelan has returned as a player on the opposition.

It’s well known that former players always give that little bit extra on their return to their former club so his midfield battle with Graham Kavanagh should be an interesting one.

Hate to say it, but I would fancy a flutter on Glenn to be first scorer too, you know how it works…

Tony Pulis has also been boosted with the loan signing of Newcastle United striker Shola Ameobi until the end of the season and the striker will go straight in to the squad.

And the arrival of Ameobi seems to come at just the right time for Stoke with injury concerns over Mama Sidibe, who missed training yesterday and today.

Salif Diao and Leon Cort are also big doubts for the trip to South Yorkshire.

Player to watch: Shola Ameobi

Ameobi has undoubted Premiership experience and he’ll be hoping to do his all to help Stoke get there – as well as show Newcastle boss Kevin Keegan what he can do.

Match Facts & Stats

Head-To-Head:

Wednesday wins: 37
Stoke wins: 31
Draws: 20

Last Time Out:

Stoke City 2-4 Wednesday

Britannia Stadium, 20/10/07

Wednesday started to put their dreadful start to the season to one side as two late goals from Marcus Tudgay and Deon Burton gave the Owls a thumping 4-2 victory earlier in the season. It was Tudgay’s second of the match, while Jermaine Johnson also netted in the victory. Ricardo Fuller bagged twice in response for the hosts.

Current Form:

Wednesday: D-D-W-W-L

Stoke: D-D-W-D-L

Previous Line-Ups:

Wednesday: Grant, Hinds, Beevers, Wood, Spurr, Kavanagh, McAllister, Small (Showunmi 87), Songo’o, Sahar, Burton.
Subs Not Used: Burch, Watson, Bolder, O’Brien.

Stoke: Nash, Griffin, Cort (Zakuani 55), Riggott, Pugh, Delap, Whelan, Diao (Wilkinson 8 (Bothroyd 65)), Gallagher, Cresswell, Sidibe.
Subs Not Used: Simonsen, Parkin.

Next Fixtures:

v Coventry City (H) – 01/04/08

v Scunthorpe United (A) – 05/04/08