Wednesday will be hoping to put the woe of a winless January behind them as they welcome Paul Simpson’s high-flying Preston North End to Hillsborough on Saturday, desperately looking for three points.
Wednesday’s poor form over January has seen them fall nine points behind the play-off spots, and should the gap increase on Saturday the Owls could well kiss their slim promotion hopes goodbye.
North End will be coming to Hillsborough hot on the heels of a disappointing defeat at Colchester which has widened the gap between themselves and the Championship top two – and Paul Simpson will be hoping to get his season back on track with victory at Hillsborough.
Wednesday Team News:
New-boy Jermaine Johnson will have to wait for his Owls debut after picking up a three-match suspension following his sending off for former club Bradford against Yeovil last weekend.
Wade Small is likely to continue on the right-hand side allowing Marcus Tudgay to continue his role with Steve Maclean in attack. Deon Burton and Leon Clarke will also be pushing for starts.
Youngster Mark Beevers will have to wait to see if he’ll make his first start on home soil for Wednesday with Brian Laws sweating on the fitness of defenders Graham Coughlan and Richard Wood. Beevers impressed making his debut at Southampton on Wednesday night and Laws would have no problems fielding him against North End.
Kenny Lunt could also be pushing for a recall in place of either Yoann Folly and Glenn Whelan in the centre of midfield.
Player to watch: Mark Beevers
Should the 17-year-old get the nod to continue alongside Lee Bullen at the heart of the Owls defence, many Wednesday, including myself, will be interested to see how the defender lives up to all the hype. Brian Laws has labelled him a hot prospect, while former boss Paul Sturrock said he could well be a future England captain. Can’t wait!
Preston NE Team News:
North End have only endured back-to-back defeats once this season and won’t be wanting to repeat that as they travel to Hillsborough on the back of a 1-0 defeat away at Colchester United.
But the visitors will be without Joe Anyinsah who has been ruled out for the season and he joins long-term casualty Youl Mawene on the sidelines.
Also definitely for the visitors out is the tricky forward Patrick Agyemang with a groin injury, Jason Jarrett through a calf injury and Callum Davidson, while Sean St. Ledger is also a doubt with an ongoing foot injury.
Former Sunderland and West Brom hitman Danny Dichio is fit and available for selection following his bout of cold but will face stiff competition for a starting place from Neil Mellor, Brett Ormeord and Michael Ricketts to partner David Nugent.
New signings Soley, Pergl and Henderson all come into the North End squad, but Manager Paul Simpson may wait before blooding his new captures.
Player to watch: David Nugent
The much-wanted striker will be keen to help get his side back to winning ways following their disappointing midweek defeat. The striker pledged his future to the Lilywhites in the transfer window and will be hoping the news sees North End make the Premiership this season.
Match Facts & Stats
Wednesday: Crossley, Simek, Bullen, Beevers, Spurr, Small (Clarke 70), Folly, Whelan, Brunt, Tudgay, MacLean (Burton 76). Subs Not Used: Adamson, Lunt, Graham.
PNE: Lonergan, Alexander, Chilvers, Wilson, Hill (Ormerod 80), Sedgwick, McKenna, Pugh, Lewis Neal (Whaley 65), Nugent, Ricketts. Subs Not Used: Nash, St. Ledger, Mellor.
Form – Last 5:
Last Time Out:
PNE 0-0 Wednesday
A relatively dull match saw PNE and the Owls take a share of the spoils at Deepdale on the opening day of the season. Wednesday had to battle for the last half hour of the match with ten men following the dubious sending off of Lee Bullen, but they more than held firm.
Wednesday wins: 33
PNE wins: 33
-courtesy of bet365.co.uk-
Owls win: 6/4
PNE win: 6/4
Friday 2nd February
Cardiff City v Barnsley
Saturday 3rd February
Colchester United v Birmingham City
Crystal Palace v Ipswich Town
Hull City v West Bromwich Albion
Leicester City v Luton Town
Norwich City v Leeds United
QPR v Burnley
Southampton v Derby County
Stoke City v Southend United
Sunderland v Coventry City
Wolverhampton Wanderers v Plymouth Argyle
Vs Burnley (A) – 10/02/07
Vs Luton (A) – 20/02/07
Vs Southend United (H) – 24/02/07