It’s been shocking end to the week for Wednesday fans following the departure of Owls boss Paul Sturrock as academy coach Sean McAuley takes charge of the Owls team for the visit of John Gregory’s Queens Park Rangers to Hillsborough.
But will attentions be firmly off the playing side of Sheffield Wednesday Football Club tomorrow as fans look to protest against the current Wednesday board in light of the decision to sack crowd favourite Sturrock just weeks after giving him a new three-year contract.
It’s certainly going to be an interesting day down at Hillsborough. Oh, and there’s the little issue of a vital three points to be had to drag the Owls away from the dreaded relegation zone.
Wednesday Team News:
Where do we start? Paul Sturrock promised a host of changes after the 4-0 humiliation at Colchester on Wednesday night, but alas he’s no longer with us. Academy coach Sean McAuley takes the reigns until a new manager is appointed and it’s anyone’s guess which team he’ll play.
Chris Brunt and Glenn Whelen could both be available for the visit of the R’s after missing out on Wednesday night while skipper Graham Coughlan is likely to continue alongside Madjid Bougherra in the centre of defence following his midweek return.
McAuley should have four attacking options to choose from with only Barry Corr missing from the squad. Drew Talbot, Steve Maclean, Marcus Tudgay and Deon Burton will all be fighting for a first team place as none of them have impressed thus far this season.
Youngster Tommy Spurr could be welcomed back to the first-team after being dropped in midweek. And Spurr’s chances won’t be harmed by the fact that he himself has come through McAuley’s youth ranks at Hillsborough. John Hills could be the one to suffer should Spurr return.
Kenny Lunt may also get a chance to prove himself after occupying the bench for the most part of this season. Many fans have been calling for the former Crewe man to be used this season and could be set for a call-up on Saturday with Burton O’Brien missing out.
Player to watch: Sean McAuley
McAuley will be taking control of the team for the first time – a bit of a step up from academy football. It will be interesting to see what team, and formation, he picks to face the R’s as him and Billy Mercer look for a vital win which should pull Wednesday clear of the bottom three.
Queens Park Rangers Team News:
John Gregory will be hoping his rejuvinated QPR side can bounce back from their disappointing defeat against Derby County in midweek by making amends against managerless Wednesday.
Gregory is still is the makeover process at Loftus Road and recently saw former R’s boss Gary Waddock leave the club for pastures new after bringing a new assistant boss in alongside him.
QPR could hand a debut to on-loan Chelsea defender Michael Mancienne. Mancienne was an unused sub for the midweek defeat by Derby, but he could be included against the Owls to strengthen the QPR defence.
Winger Gareth Ainsworth is still sidelined due to a hamstring injury, along with forwards Paul Furlong (thigh), Adam Czerkas (hip) and Marc Nygaard (back).
Player to watch: Martin Rowlands
Rowlands has been an integral part of the Rangers midfield ever since making the short-trip from rivals Brentford after making 186 appearances for the Bees netting 22 goals. Rowlands picked up a serious injury last season which restricted his starts but is sure to make up for lost time this season.
Match Facts & Stats
Last Time Out:
WEDNESDAY 1-1 QPR
11th March 2006 – Hillsborough
A Deon Burton goal gave Wednesday a vital share of the spoils as they looked to drag themselves out of the relegation zone with some fine form towards the end of the season. Marc Bircham netted for the visitors and the Owls late rally wasn’t enough to break down the stubborn R’s defence.
SWFC wins: 21
QPR wins: 16
Wednesday: Jones, Bullen (Lunt 63), Coughlan, Bougherra, Simek, Hills, O’Brien, Folly, Small, MacLean (Burton 63), Tudgay (Talbot 63). Subs Not Used: Adamson, Spurr.
QPR: Paul Jones, Lomas (Donnelly 82), Rehman, Stewart, Bignot, Rowlands, Bircham, Smith, Cook, Ray Jones (Gallen 74), Blackstock. Subs Not Used: Royce, Ward, Mancienne.
-Taken from www.bet365.com-
SWFC Win: 13/10
QPR Win: 15/8
Vs Wolves (A) – 28/10/06
Vs Crystal Palace (H) – 31/10/06
Vs Leicester City (H) – 04/11/06