Owls boss Brian Laws will be hoping his side can end a winless January with victory at high-flying Southampton on Wednesday night – without Madjid Bougherra.
January has seen a number of changes in the Owls ranks – notably the departure of defender Madjid Bougherra – and hopefully a change in fortunes for Wednesday following a poor start to 2007.
Saints boss George Burley will be concentrating on promotion from the Championship once again following their departure from the FA Cup at Manchester City at the weekend – and will be hoping to avenge Mark Crossley’s last minute leveller at Hillsborough in December.
Southampton Team News:
Saints boss George Burley will be boosted with the news that key player Rudi Skacel will be fit and available for selection following his return to action from an achilles injury.
But he will be without former Derby midfielder Inigo Idiakez through a thigh injury, Michael Svensson, Andrew Surman and Djemal Belmadi all with knee injuries.
Player to watch: Kenwyne Jones
Many people will be looking towards the threat of Skacel or Rasiak for the hosts but Kenwyne Jones is sure to want to get one over on his former club as he has done in the past, and will be a huge threat to the Owls defence, especially from set pieces.
Wednesday Team News:
Wednesday face a defensive crisis going in to the game with Madjid Bougherra having departed for Charlton Athletic this week and Richard Wood and Graham Coughlan still doubtful for the trip south.
The news could mean Brian Laws could bring 17-year-old hot prospect Mark Beevers in to the starting line-up for his debut in the blue and white shirt. The youngster is tipped for big things but will find it difficult against the lively Saints attack.
Good news for the Owls is that both Frank Simek and Tommy Spurr will be available for selection following their one-match bans while Leon Clarke could also make his full debut.
New signing Jermaine Johnson will have to wait for his Owls debut after picking up a red card in his last game for Bradford City. Johnson will be sidelined for two matches through suspension.
Player to watch: Chris Brunt
The Northern Irish international will be Wednesday’s biggest threat going forward and is currently the top scorer at the club from the left-wing. Recently linked with a move to West Ham, Brunty will be keen to show his worth at St Mary’s.
Match Facts & Stats
Wednesday: Crossley; Folly, Bullen, Coughlan (McAllister 37), O’Brien (Clarke 30); Small, Whelan, Lunt, Brunt; Tudgay, MacLean (Burton 62) Subs Not Used: Adamson, Graham.
Saints: Davis, Ostlund (Licka 63), Baird, Powell, Bale, McGoldrick, Viafara, Pele, Wright, Rasiak (Wright-Phillips 63), Jones. Subs Not Used: Bialkowski, Dyer, Makin.
Form – Last 5:
Last Time Out:
Wednesday 3-3 Southampton
Wednesday had to thank Mark Crossley for a share of the spoils against the Saints back in December as he came up for a late corner to power a close range header in to the back of the net and cap off a fine Owls comeback which began with an impressive Glenn Whelan effort. Bradley Wright-Phillips, Grzegorz Rasiak and Kenwyne Jones all netted for the Saints.
Wednesday wins: 31
Southampton wins: 22
-courtesy of bet365.co.uk-
Owls win: 10/3
Saints win: 8/11
Vs Preston NE (H) – 03/02/07
Vs Burnley (A) – 10/02/07
Vs Luton (A) – 20/02/07