Wednesday have had two weeks to recover from their horroshow performance against Leicester City last time out, but will find the going even tougher against fifth placed Stoke City on Saturday.
The Owls have endured a tough start to the new Championship campaign and have been ravaged with injuries in recent weeks, but will be hoping to have a number of men back for the trip to the Britannia.
Wednesday were in top form the last time they travelled to Stoke, picking up an impressive 2-1 victory, but the Owls will have to grind out a result this time around to help start their climb up the table.
Graham Kavanagh told the Sheffield Star:
‘The situation at the moment is grim because of the position we’re in, and the last performance wasn’t up to scratch.
‘We need to put it right. The next three games will shape the rest of the season. If it doesn’t happen for us in this next week, we’re in a relegation fight from now to the end of the season.
Tony Pulis told the Sheffield Star:
‘Brian had a fantastic start to life at Wednesday,’ he said.
‘Now he finds himself in a bit of a struggle to get results, and his plight just shows how fickle the game can be; one minute he is being touted as a genius, the next, people are questioning him.
‘I’m sure Brian is doing nothing radically different in terms of preparation and organisation, but for whatever reason things just haven’t been running for him.
‘The good thing for Brian is that the club and the majority of supporters seem to be sticking with him, so I’m sure he’ll come out of the present problem.’
Stoke City Team News:
The Owls may have their own problems with players missing for the weekend clash, but Stoke also have problems in attack, and will be forced to field a makeshift front two pairing for the visit of Brian Laws and his men.
Mamady Sidibe is definitely out with a gashed arm, while former Portsmouth hitman Vincent Pericard is likely to miss out after being re-arrested when his electronic tag fell off.
City’s small squad has forced Pulis in to looking at the loan market to bag new players, and Stoke could well have two new faces in the squad for the visit of the Owls, after having two bids for un-named players accepted this week.
Player to watch: Richard Cresswell
The former Owl was a target of Brian Laws during the summer according to newspaper reports but he could well come up against his former club in the red and white of Stoke after moving in pre-season, with the hope of causing the Wednesday defence all kinds of problems.
Wednesday Team News:
The Owls’ injury list has grown shorter in the last two weeks but boss Brian Laws will still be sweating over the fitness of a trio of players.
Frank Simek is the biggest doubt for Wednesday, after he missed his first match in a while in the 2-0 defeat to Leicester last time out, while Steve Watson and Wade Small could also remain sidelined.
But defenders Richard Wood and Tommy Spurr are fit and ready to return to bolster the Owls’ defence, and are likely to replace Lee Bullen and Peter Gilbert respectively, with Richard Hinds favoured at right-back should Simek miss out.
And Laws will also welcome back jet-heeled winger Jermaine Johnson, who returns to the squad following his suspension for the visit of the Foxes.
Francis Jeffers could also be welcomed back to the starting eleven after being used as a substitute last time out.
Player to watch: Jermaine Johnson
The Jamaican international is the one ray of hope in the Wednesday attacking line, with his pace and skill capable of causing any defence in the division problems.
Match Facts & Stats
Stoke wins: 31
Wednesday wins: 36
Last Time Out:
Stoke City 1-2 Wednesday
Britannia Stadium, 26/12/06
Wednesday were hitting peak form as goals from Steve Maclean and Deon Burton helped them to three points over Stoke on a superb Boxing Day for the Owls.
Stoke: Simonsen, Wright, Shawcross, Matteo, Wilkinson (Dickinson 42), Cresswell, Delap, Eustace, Lawrence (Sweeney 90), Fuller, Sidibe (Parkin 67). Subs Not Used: Hoult, Pericard.
Wednesday: Grant, Bullen, Gilbert, Hinds, Michael Johnson (Beevers 38), Whelan, Tudgay, Esajas, Kavanagh, Burton (Jeffers 63), Sodje (O’Brien 63). Subs Not Used: Burch, Lunt.
23/10/07 – Scunthorpe United (H)
27/10/07 – Blackpool (H)
03/11/07 – Plymouth (A)