Another week – another midweek mid-table clash – this time in the form of one of the star performers in the Championship this season, Geraint Williams’ Colchester United.
Colchester fans are still hopeful of a place in the play-offs this term after taking the division by storm following most pundits tipping them for the drop – but it would take an even more impressive finale from the U’s to finish in the top six.
Nevertheless, both sides will be hoping to finish on a high – Owls boss Brian Laws has already highlighted a top-ten finish to take in to the new season, and fans will be hoping for a better showing than last week’s dull affair with Plymouth Argyle.
Owls boss Brian Laws told the official SWFC site:
‘That belief is coming back and our target now is to finish in the top ten. It would be a great achievement for the football club, it would be satisfactory because it would be the best position Sheffield Wednesday have finished in for the last seven years. It is also a good starting point for next year.’
Wednesday Team News:
The biggest problem Owls boss Brian Laws will have going in to the game will be the calf injury picked up by on-loan Steve Watson at Loftus Road at the weekend which will keep him out of the visit of Colchester tonight.
Kenny Lunt came on to replace the West Brom player and will be the favourite to take his place in the centre of midfield, but Laws will also have the option to give Yoann Folly a rare start alongside Glenn Whelan.
Jermaine Johnson is likely to be on the sidelines still after missing the trip to London while back-up winger Wade Small is also set to miss out – allowing youngster Rocky Lekaj to continue on the bench for the Owls.
Graham Coughlan is available for selection again after returning from compassionate leave yesterday – but Laws is likely to give Cocko further time off by continuing with Richard Wood and Lee Bullen at the heart of the Wednesday defence.
Marcus Tudgay is set to continue deputising on the right hand side of midfield to allow Deon Burton and Steve Maclean continue their partnership in attack.
Player to watch: Chris Brunt
It won’t be just the 20,000 Hillsborough crowd who will be keeping their eye on the Owls’ top scorer this season – but a number of scouts who are likely to be in attendance at Hillsborough to keep tabs on the Northern Irish international. West Ham, Reading, Charlton and Man City are said to be interested in his services.
Colchester United Team News:
Colchester boss Geraint Williams has no new injury concerns coming in to the match after his squad came through the goalless draw with Coventry at the weekend.
But the Welshman could make changes to his starting eleven with Karl Duguid coming in to the side at right-back while Kevin McLeod is likely to come in on the left.
Player to watch: Chris Iwelumo
The former Stoke and Preston hitman has been one of the success stories of the Championship and his partnership with Jamie Cureton in the Colchester attack has been the biggest reason Geraint Williams’ men find themselves so far up the Championship ladder. Iwelumo has bagged a whopping 15 goals for the U’s this term from 32 starts.
Match Facts & Stats
Colchester 4-0 Wednesday – 18/10/06, Layer Road.
Who could forget the last meeting between the two sides? A hammering for the Owls at fortress Layer Road was enough for boss Paul Sturrock to get the boot the following morning after a disastrous start to the campaign. Cureton, Halford, Iwelumo and Duguid bagged the goals for the hosts on an evening to forget for Owls fans.
Wednesday wins: 2
Colchester wins: 7
Wednesday: Turner, Bullen, Simek, Wood, Spurr, Whelan, Watson (Lunt 27), Brunt, Tudgay, MacLean (Graham 81), Burton. Subs Not Used: Adamson, Gilbert, Lekaj.
Colchester: Gerken, Duguid, Baldwin, Brown, Barker, Garcia, Watson, Izzet, McLeod (Ephraim 62), Iwelumo, Cureton. Subs Not Used: Davison, Guy, Elokobi, Mills.
Coventry v Wolverhampton
Derby v QPR
Leicester v Leeds
Luton v Hull
Norwich v Birmingham
Preston v Ipswich
Sheff Wed v Colchester
Southampton v Cardiff
Southend v Burnley
Sunderland v Stoke
Plymouth v Barnsley
West Brom v Crystal Palace
Vs Wolves (H) – 17/03/07
Vs Crystal Palace (A) – 31/03/07
Vs Cardiff City (A) – 07/04/07