Wednesday will be going in to the clash with the Baggies full of confidence after holding the league leaders Cardiff City to a draw on home soil at the weekend – but with many fancying Tony Mowbray’s men as favourites for promotion tonight’s clash could prove the tougher ask of the two.
But West Brom haven’t been in top form since the former Hibernian boss took to the reigns and come in to the match on the back of a disappointing 1-0 defeat at Stoke City on Saturday – and are anything but automatic promotion candidates on their travels this season, but will they be wanting to put that right tonight?
Chris Brunt told the official SWFC site:
‘It was disappointing to miss Saturday’s game. The boys got a good point but it is hard to sit and watch when you want to be involved, especially under the circumstances in which it happened. I’m just glad it was only one game and I’m glad to be back in the squad.
‘These are the games you want to be playing in. West Brom are more or less a Premiership outfit after being relegated and we’re all looking forward to it. We have nothing to fear with the way we’ve been playing at home and they’ve been in a bit of a dip so hopefully we can make that continue.’
Tony Mowbray told the official WBA site:
‘I’m very respectful of every team in this league. I don’t think there are any easy games.
‘My frustration on Saturday was with my team not playing as well as I know they can and not doing the things we should have done. Let’s hope we can put that right against Sheffield Wednesday who will be giving everything they’ve got for their new manager.
‘Every manager keeps telling me the match reports they’ve had on us have been quite frightening and a little bit intimidating by suggesting ‘this football machine’ is coming to town.
‘They get their teams wound up to stop this ‘flowing football machine’. But we have to cope with that because the best teams do.’
Wednesday Team News:
The main news for the Owls is that boss Brian Laws will welcome winger Chris Brunt straight back in to the starting line-up after the former Middlesbrough man sat out Saturday’s draw with Cardiff through suspension.
Defender Madjid Bougherra will undergo a late fitness test after coming off on Saturday with a thigh injury. Laws admitted the Algerian international will be his only doubt coming in to the match having played through the pain barrier for the club.
But striker Deon Burton should be fit to continue his impressive partnership with Marcus Tudgay in the Wednesday attack after recovering from the head injury he picked up in a clash on Saturday.
Winger Wade Small will sit out the second match of his three-match suspension after picking up red against Coventry while Richard Wood, Drew Talbot, Peter Gilbert and Steve Adams are still sidelined through injury.
Player to watch: Chris Brunt
The Irishman will be keen to make an impression on his new gaffer following his sending off in the clash with Coventry City. Wednesday lacked Brunt’s creativity on Saturday and strike pairing Deon Burton and Marcus Tudgay will be looking forward to his return.
West Brom Team News:
Baggies boss Tony Mowbray has revealed that former Celtic and Wimbledon striker John Hartson is unlikely to make the trip up to South Yorkshire after struggling to overcome an ankle injury – but they still have the choice of Kevin Phillips, Nathan Ellington, Diomansy Camara and Zoltan Gera to choose from.
The only other doubt for the promotion favourites goes to Richard Chaplow who is said to be struggling with a niggling back injury which could see him miss the trip north altogether.
Long-term absentee Neil Clement is still sidelined for the Midlands club with a knee injury.
Player to watch: Kevin Phillips
The former Sunderland hitman put the nail in to Wednesday’s Premiership coffin when he helped Sunderland to a 2-0 victory at Hillsborough which saw the Owls as good as down, and Phillips is sure to provide similar problems to the Owls defence this evening with his pace and clinical finishing.
Match Facts & Stats
Last Time Out:
West Brom 1-1 WEDNESDAY
22nd December 2001 – The Hawthorns
Its been almost five years since the last meeting between the two sides – which ended in a 1-1 scoreline at the Hawthorns after Ruel Fox levelled an Efan Ekoku opener for the. The return meeting at Hillsborough also ended in a 1-1 draw but both sides will be looking for all three points tonight.
SWFC wins: 51
CCFC wins: 33
Wednesday (vs. Cardiff): Crossley; Simek, Bullen, Bougherra (Coughlan 78), Hills; Andrews (Whelan 73), Lunt, Folly, O’Brien; Tudgay, Burton (MacLean 36). Subs not used: Adamson, Spurr.
WBA (vs. Stoke City): Hoult, Albrechtsen (Gera 63), Perry, Davies, Robinson, Koumas, Carter, Quashie, Greening, Phillips, Kamara (Ellington 77). Subs not used: Steele, Watson, McShane.
Last Form – Last 5:
-Taken from www.bet365.com-
Wednesday win: 13/8
West Brom win: 11/8
Barnsley v Southend
Burnley v Leeds
Colchester v Hull
Norwich v Leicester
Plymouth v Luton
Preston v Coventry
QPR v Sunderland
Sheff Wed v West Brom
Stoke v Cardiff
Wolverhampton v Crystal Palace
Vs Leicester City (A) – 02/12/06
Vs Norwich City (A) – 09/12/06
Vs Birmingham City (H) – 16/12/06