Wednesday boss Brian Laws will be hoping to get the Owls back to winning ways this Saturday and bag their first three points of 2007 with victory over promotion rivals Sunderland at Hillsborough.
The match will also pit Laws against another one of his former team-mates. Keane and Laws played together at Nottingham Forest and both managers have expressed their excitement at pitting their wits against each other.
Roy Keane told the official SAFC website:
‘It should be a very good atmosphere tomorrow and I hope that we will give them something to shout about. The last time we had a massive following, at Preston, we let the fans down. We definitely appreciate the support they give us, it’s outstanding.
‘Even at home on Saturday, when the game was not going great, I have to say I thought they [the fans] were different class – quite understanding of the situation and conditions. I think it will have a big game atmosphere tomorrow, the way Wednesday are, and they have done well recently.
‘Wednesday had a right go at [Manchester] City in the Cup in midweek and they will want to bounce back. We’re looking forward to it and I’m sure the fans are, too.’
Wednesday Team News:
Wednesday boss Brian Laws will welcome new-signing Leon Clarke in to the squad on Saturday following his move from Wolves earlier this week. The 21-year-old is desperate to kick-start his Owls career on a high but is likely to have to for a substitute appearance.
But Wednesday will be without the services of Frank Simek and Tommy Spurr through suspension – leaving Wednesday sweating on the return to fitness of defenders Richard Wood and John Hills. Both players will undergo late fitness tests.
There will also be a question mark over the availability of Madjid Bougherra. The highly-rated defender, who has been linked with a move to a number of Premiership clubs, missed out in midweek through injury and Graham Coughlan could continue alongside Lee Bullen at the heart of the defence.
Wade Small could make his full return to action following a knee injury which has seen him sit out the last six weeks. Marcus Tudgay could partner Steve Maclean in attack, allowing Small to start in his favoured right-wing role.
Player to watch: Madjid Bougherra
It’s hit and miss whether Bougherra will playfor the Owls, prompting Wednesdayites to query whether the Algerian defender really is injured, or whether Wednesday are prepararing to let him go following a number of reports linking him with a move to the Premiership.
Sunderland Team News:
Sunderland boss Roy Keane will welcome former Manchester United and Leeds midfielder Liam Miller back to the side following his suspension, and the Irishman is likely to regain his place in the first eleven.
But fellow midfielder Graham Kavanagh will miss out through a knee injury as will defenders Stanislav Varga, Steven Wright and Kenny Cunningham – leaving the Mackems short at the back – but Steve Caldwell could return.
Player to watch: Anthony Stokes
Sunderland bought the former Arsenal hitman for £2m last week – money the Owls could only dream of spending in the current climate – and he made an impressive debut for the Mackems last week by setting up their only goal in a 1-0 victory over Ipswich. And he will be hoping to go one better on Saturday and net for the first time in a red and white shirt.
Match Facts & Stats
Wednesday: Crossley, Simek (Wood 88), Bullen, Coughlan, Spurr, Tudgay, Lunt (Folly 46), Whelan, Brunt, MacLean, Burton (Small 46). Subs Not Used: Adamson, Graham.
Sunderland: Ward, Whitehead, Evans, Nosworthy, Wallace (Collins 66), Edwards, Leadbitter, Yorke, Hysen (Murphy 64), Stokes (Elliott 88), Connolly. Subs Not Used: Fulop, Clarke. Booked: Yorke.
Last Time Out:
Sunderland 1-0 Wednesday, Stadium Of Light – 30/09/06.
Wednesday travelled up to Sunderland with both teams down at the bottom end of the division, and with the Mackems fresh in the excitement of the new managerial appointment of Roy Keane. The writing was on the wall, and just a single Dean Whitehead goal separated the teams.
Wednesday wins: 45
Sunderland wins: 47
-Thanks to Bet365-
Wednesday win: 11/8
Sunderland win: 17/10
Burnley v Norwich
Crystal Palace v Hull
Ipswich v Colchester
Leeds v West Brom
Leicester v Birmingham
Luton v Barnsley
Preston v Stoke
QPR v Southampton
Sheff Wed v Sunderland
Southend v Derby
Wolverhampton v Cardiff
Plymouth v Coventry
Vs Southampton (A) – 31/01/07
Vs Preston (H) – 03/02/07
Vs Burnley (A) – 10/02/07