Wednesday will aim to kick-start 2012 with a bang when Tranmere Rovers visit Hillsborough in npower League One on Monday.
The Owls wrapped up 2011 with victory at Preston on New Year’s Eve and the same outcome against struggling Rovers could see Gary Megson’s men back in the automatic promotion spots should other results go their way.
The Birkenhead club have been struggling for form of late but at least they finished the year with victory over Bury, bringing an end to a six game losing run and lifting spirits ahead of the trip to S6.
Owls boss Gary Megson said after the 2-0 win at Preston:
‘I thought we were terrific. There were some really good performances all over the field and that was pleasing.
‘Chris O’Grady ran his socks off, Semedo was magnificent, James Tavernier looked really well going forward and I was pleased to see Nicky Weaver get the clean sheet.
‘He didn’t have a lot to do but- and this is no reflection on Richard O’Donnell – he gives a calming influence, which is what you need in that position.’
Wednesday Team News:
Owls boss Gary Megson will have to decide whether to stick with the returning Nicky Weaver in goal or go with Stephen Bywater, who signed for Wednesday on a permanent deal on New Year’s Eve.
Bywater was a first-team regular whilst on loan at Hillsborough earlier this season but was acting as a cover for Weaver. Now the pair will go head-to-head for the Owls’ number one jersey.
Elsewhere, Megson may look to make a couple of changes with such a quick turnaround from the last match. Players such as David Prutton, Sanchez Watt and Liam Palmer will all be pushing for starting places.
Gary Madine and Lewis Buxton will still be sidelined through injury.
Player to watch: Chris Lines
Lines’s set pieces and penetrating passes have become a key part of Wednesday’s success this season and Owls fans will be looking for more of the same against Rovers.
Tranmere Rovers Team News:
Tranmere had a December to forget as their winless run stretched to six games, but they’ll come into the game against Wednesday with a slight lift thanks to a 2-0 home win over Bury last time out.
Former Owl Enoch Showunmi is on Tranmere’s squad list but the striker won’t be fit enough to face his former club. Showunmi is sidelined with a leg injury and joins John Welsh, Ian Goodison and Owain Fon Williams on Rovers’ injury list.
Rovers boss Les Parry has confirmed on Tranmere’s official site that all four absentees won’t be fit enough for a return at Hillsborough, although Michael Kay could be available.
Player to watch: Joss Labadie
Labadie is Tranmere’s top scorer with four league goals to his name, the latest coming in the 2-0 win over Bury on New Year’s Eve.
Match Facts & Stats
Wednesday wins: 9
Tranmere wins: 7
Last Time Out:
Tranmere 1-2 Wednesday
Prenton Park, 19/11/11
Rovers led 1-0 thanks to a Jose Baxter strike in the reverse fixture before goals from Chris Lines and Ryan Lowe won it for Wednesday.
v West Ham (FA Cup) – 8/1/12