It looks like Tuesday night could well see caretaker boss Sean McAuley take charge of the Owls for the final time as the Wednesday board look set to name a new manager before the Owls’ clash with Leicester City at the weekend – and McAuley will determined to end his short spell at the reigns with a win.
Palace have struggled to adapt to life after Iain Dowie and star striker Andy Johnson departed the club in the summer and are currently without a win in five – leaving them just four points better off than Wednesday in 17th position.
If you’d have asked for predictions for the Palace game two weeks ago many fans would have predicted a hammering from the Selhurst Park club, but it now looks as though Wednesday will be going in to the game as favourites – never a good thing for the Owls in past instances.
Peter Taylor told the official CPFC site:
‘Hillsbrough is a great place to play with a great atmosphere and tremendous support, so it should be a good night hopefully. They’ve won one match and drawn the other one under his (McAuley) control, so we know what to expect.
‘The table doesn’t concern me at the moment, it’s early days and three wins will make a real difference, but we have to work hard to get it. We’ve just got to get winning again.’
Wednesday Team News:
Wednesday boss Sean McAuley will welcome back captain Graham Coughlan to the side after Tommy Spurr was knocked unconcious in the Owls clash with Wolves at the weekend. Coughlan has been missing with a hamstring injury and is likely to come in alongside Madjid Bougherra at the heart of the defence.
McAuley told the official SWFC site: ‘The doctor has seen Tommy Spurr and advised us that it’s best if he doesn’t play because he was knocked out cold. With all the press about head injuries recently I think it’s the right thing to do.’
McAuley continued: ‘Tommy has done fantastic for us but I think it’s important for a 19-year-old kid that we are mindful of his rest as well. I’ve told him to do a little bit of work on Wednesday and then be available for full training on Thursday.’
Meanwhile winger Wade Small is likely to be fit for the clash after suffering a dead leg in the weekend clash at Molineux. Small netted his first goal for the Owls in the 2-2 draw and played through the pain barrier.
Other than that McAuley will have no fresh injury concerns going in to the clash. Richard Wood and Peter Gilbert are still missing from the squad with long term injuries.
Player to watch: Chris Brunt
The Owls winger excelled in the 2-2 draw with Wolves at the weekend and is back in form following a slow start to the season. Brunt’s left-foot can cause havoc to any club on his day – and McAuley will be hoping Brunt is very much on his day when Peter Taylor’s men visit.
Crystal Palace Team News:
Danny Butterfield could make his full return from injury for Palace after coming on as substitute in the defeat to Plymouth Argyle at the weekend.
Palace boss Peter Taylor has also hinted to fans that star winger Jobi McAnuff could well be fit to travel up the M1 for the match. McAnuff is said to have a ‘slight chance’ of a return following his hernia operation.
Meanwhile, Michael Hughes and Ryhs Wiggins are still out injured for Palace.
Player to watch: Shefki Kuqi
The flying Finn may have failed to win over the Palace fans since his £2.5 million move form Blackburn Rovers in the summer but he’s sure to want to score against his former employers on Tuesday night. Kuqi has netted just one goal since his move from Rovers and has struggled in attack for Taylor’s men.
Match Facts & Stats
Last Time Out:
WEDNESDAY 0-0 Palace
11th February 2006 – Hillsborough
A disappointing clash in front of almost 25,000 fans at Hillsborough saw Wednesday do everything but score as Iain Dowie’s Palace team were lucky to leave S6 with a point.
SWFC wins: 18
CPFC wins: 13
Wednesday: Jones, Simek, Hills, Bougherra, Spurr, Lunt, Folly, Small (Whelan 60), Brunt, Tudgay (Talbot 80), Burton (MacLean 81). Subs Not Used: Adamson, Bullen.
Palace: Kiraly, Lawrence, Ward (Green 73), Cort, Borrowdale, Kennedy, Soares, Fletcher (Butterfield 46), Reich (Kuqi 46), Freedman, Morrison. Subs Not Used: Flinders, Watson.
Latest Form – Last 5
-Taken from www.bet365.com-
SWFC win: 11/8
CPFC win: 7/4
Coventry v Birmingham
Leicester v Stoke
Luton v Burnley
Norwich v Colchester
Plymouth v Ipswich
Preston v Leeds
Southend v Hull
Sunderland v Cardiff
West Brom v QPR
Vs Leicester City (H) – 04/11/06
Vs Ipswich Town (A) – 11/11/06
Vs Coventry City (A) – 18/11/06