The Owls will be looking to bounce back from their disappointing defeat at lowly Luton in midweek by getting their first three points of the season against another relegation-threatened team – this time in the shape of Steve Tilson’s Southend.
Wednesday have had a disastrous start to 2007 and have failed to pick up a point on home soil since Mark Crossley’s late equaliser against Southampton back in December – and Owls boss Brian Laws will be desperate to end the run this weekend.
Southend on the other hand will be rubbing their hands at the chance to pick up some much-needed points in the battle against the drop against the side bottom of the Championship for table at present.
With the exception of the Shrimpers midweek defeat at home to Crystal Palace, Tilson’s men have been on a fine run of form since the turn of the new year and will be brimming with confidence as they make the trip north.
Brian Laws told the official SWFC site:
‘I don’t dwell on things and I will move on to the next game as quickly as possible and thank God we’ve got a game against Southend on Saturday. It’s about time we put a stop to this disastrous start to the year and put some results together. That starts on Saturday and we are demanding the players respond.’
Steve Tilson told the official SUFC site:
‘Brian Laws took over and he has done ever so well for them, they went on a fantastic run and I felt they could get in the play-offs. Of late they have had a few indifferent results but on their patch they are going to be a tough side to beat. We are ready and prepared to go and get a good result on Saturday.’
Wednesday Team News:
Wednesday look set to give an debut to young goalkeeper Iain Turner who arrived at Hillsborough on Friday morning to complete the terms of his initial one-month loan deal at the club. Turner has been brought in to strengthen the frail Owls defence and fellow loanee Mark Crossley is likely to drop to the bench.
New-boy Jermaine Johnson is also set to make his Hillsborough debut after featuring for the Owls in midweek at Kenilworth Road. Johnson joined the Owls in January but has been sitting out through suspension for a red card picked up while with old club Bradford.
Laws is hopeful of adding another player to his ranks ahead of the clash with the Shrimpers, with it being 50/50 whether someone will come in before Saturday.
The Owls gaffer has highlighted the problems in the Wednesday defence and is likely to chop and change, with Frankie Simek set to undergo a late fitness test after suffering illness, while Graham Coughlan could return at the heart of the defence, with Lee Bullen the likely casualty.
John Hills and Peter Gilbert are likely to miss out after failing to full recover from their respective injuries.
Player to watch: Iain Turner
All eyes will be on the youngster as he makes his debut for the Owls in a crunch clash. Mark Crossley has been at fault for a number of goals of late, and the Scottish international will be hoping to put things right and impress the Hillsborough faithful on his first outing for the club in his initial one-month loan. Already featured in the Championship this season with an impressive loan spell at Crystal Palace.
Southend United Team News:
Southend boss Steve Tilson has no fewer than four players missing from his squad ahead of Saturday’s clash – with two key defenders missing for the vital trip north.
The Shrimpers will be without the services of defensive duo Adam Barrett and Peter Clarke. The duo had formed a storng partnership at the heart of the Southend defence in recent weeks, but Barrett will now miss five weeks through a hernia while Clarke will sit out a one-match suspension after picking up five yellow cards this term.
Meanwhile, futher defensive problems mean that left-back Steven Hammell is still struggling with a thigh injury and looks likely to spend another week on the sidelines whilst Alan McCormack is currently rated 50/50 after being rested for the game against Crystal Palace in midweek.
Former Wednesday strker Lee Bradbury should be bit and available to return to Hillsborough alongside Freddie Eastwood – and we all know how former players do against us don’t we?!
Player to watch: Freddie Eastwood
The obvious choice, and a key factor to whether Southend will still be playing football in this division next season. Eastwood has impressed throughout the campaign and ha shown everyone that he’s able to play at Championship standard – and possibly higher – after some superb performances this season, notably in the League Cup clash with Manchester United. The Owls defence will definately have to improve to keep the hitman out.
Match Facts & Stats
Southend 0-0 Southend – Roots Hall, 09/09/06
Wednesday’s slow start to the campaign continued as they failed to break down a stubborn Southend defence at Roots Hall. The Owls had the best chances in front of goal but there was no separating the two teams on a relatively dull game of football.
Wednesday: Crossley, Simek, Bullen, Watson, Spurr, Johnson (Graham 80), Lunt (Folly 68), Whelan, Brunt, MacLean (Tudgay 68), Burton. Subs Not Used: Adamson, Coughlan.
Southend: Flahavan, Hunt, Sodje, Clarke, Wilson (Harrold 79), Campbell-Ryce (Francis 83), Maher, Gower, Foran, Bradbury, Eastwood. Subs Not Used: Collis, Prior, Moussa.
Cardiff v Preston
Colchester v Burnley
Crystal Palace v Luton
Hull v Birmingham
Leicester v West Brom
Norwich v Coventry
QPR v Plymouth
Sheff Wed v Southend
Southampton v Ipswich
Sunderland v Derby
Wolverhampton v Leeds
Vs Leeds United (A) – 03/02/07
Vs Plymouth Argyle (H) – 06/03/07
Vs QPR (A) – 10/03/07