Wednesday’s task of climbing out of the Championship relegation zone gets no easier this weekend when they travel to high-flying Swansea City.
The Welsh club have ideas for promotion to the Premier League this season, and three points against the Owls will be a must if they’re to prove their credentials and finish in the play-offs at least.
The Owls’ need for points is just as great and boss Alan Irvine will be demanding a performance on a par to those against West Brom and Leicester City in the last week.
A result which betters that of Crystal Palace would see Wednesday make a confidence-boosting stride out of the bottom three, and Wednesday could also leapfrog Scunthorpe and Watford if results go their way.
Alan Irvine told the official SWFC website:
‘Swansea are a good football team, a good passing team who keep the ball very well.
‘They are a very patient side who play with a system first used under Roberto Martinez and they have continued to play that way under Paulo Sousa.
‘Swansea don’t score a lot of goals but that’s because they are very patient, they don’t just throw things in the box. They work the ball very well and try and create good opportunities to score.
‘Likewise, they don’t concede a lot of goals and part of that is because they have a lot of possession.’
Swansea defender Garry Monk told the official Swansea City website:
‘We want to chase the teams above us.
‘You have one eye on the teams behind you but we’re focussing on catching the teams above.
‘We want to make sure that we win as many games as possible, we’ve got West Brom on Tuesday but Saturday is the biggest test for us right now.
‘Sheffield Wednesday are in a difficult position in the league and that’s what makes these games hard. They’re scrapping for their lives so we have to be at our best.’
Swansea City Team News:
The Swans will be without Gorka Pintado, who serves the final game of his four-match ban, for the clash with the Owls.
Former Owls defender Garry Monk is also doubtful with a calf injury, while Federico Bessone could miss out with a hamstring injury.
Cedric Van der Gun is set to continue for the Welsh club after making his return from hamstring injury in their last outing, but long-term injury absentee Ferrie Bodde remains sidelined.
Former Owl Shefki Kuqi is set to start after making the switch to the Liberty Stadium from Crystal Palace earlier this season.
Player to watch: Shefki Kuqi
While at Hillsborough, some fans loved him and some fans hated him, but there’s no doubting that the Finnish striker is a handful. Kuqi grabbed the winner for Swansea at Watford last weekend and he’ll pose a big threat to the Owls defence with his power.
Wednesday Team News:
Owls boss Alan Irvine could well be tempted to stick with the same eleven that he praised following their slender 1-0 defeat at high-flying West Brom in midweek.
Marcus Tudgay was the main notable absentee through illness, but the Owls’ top scorer will be back and available for the trip to Wales so he could replace Luke Varney in attack.
Other than that Wednesday are set to be unchanged, with Lewis Buxton still sidelined through injury.
Francis Jeffers made a rare outing as a substitute at the Hawthorns on Tuesday and he will be keen on making an impression on Irvine to break into the Owls’ first team plans.
Player to watch: Leon Clarke
Leon has been in top form since returning to the starting line-up and Irvine will be expecting more of the same from the big man tomorrow. Clarke’s problem has been consistency but he played well against the Baggies in midweek, hot-on-the-heels of his two-goals against Leciester at the weekend, and he’ll be looking to get back in the goals again this weekend.
Match Facts & Stats
Swansea wins: 5
Wednesday wins: 12
Last Time Out:
Wednesday 0-2 Swansea
Following Brian Laws’ sacking, Wednesday went down to a 2-0 defeat earlier this season against the Swans with caretaker boss Sean McAuley at the helm. A brace of goals from Darren Pratley was enough for the visitors as they ran out comfortable winners at S6.
v PNE (a) – 16/03/10
v Derby (h) – 20/03/10