Wednesday will be looking to continue their climb back up the npower League One table tonight when they host basement dwellers Walsall at Hillsborough.
A 4-1 victory at MK Dons on Saturday will give Alan Irvine’s men plenty of confidence going into tonight’s clash – and provide evidence that the Owls won’t be letting their off-the-field problems distract them from their goal of promotion this season.
Wednesday will be big favourites to collect three points tonight, but, although Walsall currently sit bottom of the division, the Saddlers’ 2-1 victory over Carlisle on Saturday will give them hope of an upset in S6.
Walsall boss Chris Hutchings told the official Walsall site:
‘It was all about hard work on Saturday. We had a heart-to-heart with the lads last week and they have responded; the challenge now is to do it again at Sheffield Wednesday this evening.
Winning breeds confidence; it’s all about belief and mental strength and each one of my players showed that on Saturday. We had 11 leaders out there.
“If we show the same application tonight we can go to Hillsborough and get something, I have no doubt about that. We know that we can do it and we look forward to getting out there again this evening.”
Wednesday Team News:
Wednesday could welcome back goalkeeper Nicky Weaver to the starting eleven after he missed Saturday’s trip to MK Dons through injury.
Youngster Arron Jameson took his place at Stadium:mk, and Owls boss Alan Irvine would have no problems throwing him in for a first professional start at Hillsborough if necessary.
But after returning to training on Monday, Weaver is expected to get the nod to return in goal for the Owls.
Irvine will be tempted to stick with the same outfield side that defeated Karl Robinson’s men so convincingly on Saturday, despite the return of Giles Coke from suspension.
Right-back Jon Otsemobor remains a doubt with a calf injury, but given Lewis Buxton’s recent performances in the same position, that will be of little concern for Wednesdayites tonight.
Player to watch: Neil Mellor
Expectations will be high for the on-song striker after he notched his second hat-trick in three games at MK Dons on Saturday. Another treble is asking for a lot, but Mellor will be looking for more goals against the league’s bottom side.
Walsall Team News:
Walsall have suffered a blow with the news that captain Darren Byfield has been ruled out for between four-six weeks, keeping him out of the clash at Hillsborough.
The Saddlers have enjoyed back-to-back wins, with progression in the FA Cup coming before Saturday’s impressive win over Carlisle United on home soil.
And boss Chris Hutchings will be looking to complete a hat-trick of his own and upset the form book with three unexpected points in S6 tonight.
Hutchings is likely to field the same starting eleven for tonight’s clash, with no fresh injury or suspension concerns.
But Ryan McGivern will be available for selection again following a three-match ban and being away on international duty.
Player to watch: Matt Richards
Richards hit a double to guide Walsall to victory on Saturday, and will be the Saddlers biggest goal threat tonight.
Match Facts & Stats
Wednesday wins: 9
Walsall wins: 3
Last Time Out:
Wednesday 3-2 Walsall
Kenwyne Jones and Steve Maclean found the back of the net as the Owls edged the last meeting between the two sides in 2004. A Mark Wright own goal also helped the Owls win the five-goal Boxing Day thriller.
v Northampton Town (H, FA Cup) – 27/11/10