Wednesday travel down to Selhurst Park in the knowledge that both teams are just playing for pride until they end of the season as they occupy a safe mid-table spot with just a month of the campaign remaining.
But Owls boss Brian Laws has highlighted the importance of giving the travelling Wednesday fans their moneys worth for the remainder of the season – and players will be looking to impress with their contracts up at S6 in the summer.
But Eagles boss Peter Taylor is keeping his players on their toes as he keeps alive Palace’s distant hopes of a play-off spot, and will be looking to continue their recent improved form with victory over the Owls on Saturday.
Palace boss Peter Taylor told the official CPFC site:
‘I know they played very well recently against QPR and it will be a difficult game for us,’ added Taylor.
‘I’m delighted that Brunt has played has played two sets of 90 minutes for Northern Ireland so hopefully he might be a wee bit tired and been out celebrating their result against Sweden and doesn’t play as well!
‘He’s got a tremendous left foot, probably one of the best around so he needs watching.’
Crystal Palace Team News:
Palace will be keen to get back to winning ways after their defeat against Plymouth two weeks ago – and will also be looking for revenge after Steve Maclean’s late, late winner in the reverse fixture gave Wednesday all three points at Hillsborough.
Boss Peter Taylor has been boosted in the two-week break with the news that Jobi McAnuff and former Blades winger Paul Ifill have returned to full fitness while former Wolves man Mark Kennedy could also be part of the squad.
But Stuart Green is still a number of weeks away from returning to action and Ben Watson is likely to miss out through illness.
Former Owls striker Shefki Kuqi is likely to be part of Taylor’s squad and it’s odds on that the flying Finn will bag against us – it’s always the case with former players isn’t it?
Player to watch: Shefki Kuqi
The former Owl has failed to live up to his pricey £2.5m price tag since he arrived at Selhurst Park at the start of the season from Blackburn Rovers but he will be keen to impress in front of his former club. The flying Finn has made 19 starts for the Eagles since his arrival in London, netting five league goals for the club.
Wednesday Team News:
Wednesday boss Brian Laws will be missing in-form right-back Frankie Simek as the American international starts his three-match suspension for a sending-off in the last game with Wolves two weeks ago.
Laws has a number of options to replace Simek at right-back with Steve Watson and Lee Bullen both fit and available to fill in – with atson the likely choice to return to his preferred role after featuring in midfield recently.
That could mean Yoann Folly or Kenny Lunt will get a recall alongside Glenn Whelan in the centre of midfield.
Jermaine Johnson could be welcomed back to the starting eleven after missing out the last few games through injury. Wednesday have been playing striker Marcus Tudgay on the wing with Wade Small also missing until the end of the season.
But the return of Johnson could give Laws a selection headache in attack with Tudgay, Steve Maclean and Deon Burton all pushing for a starting place with their fair share of goals.
Player to watch: Chris Brunt
The Northern Ireland international has had a superb week by helping his national side top their group thanks to victory over Sweden in midweek. Brunt has been linked with a number of Premiership clubs in recent weeks and will be hoping to continue his fine form at Selhurst Park on Saturday.
Match Facts & Stats
Last Time Out:
Wednesday 3-2 Palace, Hillsborough, 31/10/06.
A last minute strike from Steve Maclean sent Peter Taylor’s men back to London pointless on a freexing night of football at Hillsborough. Sean McAuley was in charge of the Owls following the sacking of Paul Sturrock and goals from Marcus Tudgay and Graham Coughlan levelled Shefki Kuqi and Tom Soares’ goals before Maclean netted the winner from close range in the final minute of the match.
Palace wins: 13
Wednesday wins: 19
Palace: Kiraly, Butterfield, Hudson, Cort, Borrowdale, Soares (Kuqi 71), Watson, Fletcher, Hughes (Freedman 59), Scowcroft, Morrison (Grabban 71). Subs Not Used: Speroni, Kennedy.
Wednesday: Turner, Bullen, Gilbert (Spurr 74), Wood, Simek, Whelan, Tudgay, Brunt, Watson, MacLean (Lunt 82), Burton. Subs Not Used: Adamson, Folly, Lekaj.
Leeds v Preston NE
Barnsley v Derby
Burnley v Luton
Cardiff v Sunderland
Colchester v Norwich
Crystal Palace v Sheff Wed
Hull v Southend
Ipswich v Plymouth
QPR v West Brom
Stoke v Leicester
Wolverhampton v Southampton
Birmingham v Coventry
Vs Cardiff City (A) – 07/04/07
Vs Ipswich Town (H) – 09/04/07
Vs West Brom (A) – 13/04/07