Sheffield Wednesday take on Aston Villa this weekend in the Sky Bet Championship in what is a big game in the play-off race.
Both are in decent form, both are in with a shout of making the top-six and both have been managed by Steve Bruce at some point this season.
What’s the view from the Owls’ fans then? We spoke to Louis Shackshaft as usual to preview the clash…
1. How fired up will Steve Bruce be to get one over on Villa?
As fired up as any other game, I suppose. Yes, this contest is against his former club but I expect himself and the players to approach this game like every other. Wednesday are currently unbeaten in twelve outings under Bruce so there is no need to change things. Wednesday need to let their football do the talking.
2. If Villa do win, how concerned will you be for the Owls’ play-off chances?
Every game is vital from now until the end of the season. I said only a few weeks ago that Wednesday needed to win five more games before the campaign ends to stand any chance of finishing fifth or sixth. That calculation still stands. If they lose this game it will be a huge blow, even a point isn’t good enough for Wednesday in the long term sense.
3. Which Villa players need to be stopped most?
Aston Villa have talent in abundance. I’m a keen admirer of the central pairing, McGinn and Grealish, they can both cause havoc and are capable of assists as well as wonder goals. Ultimately though, Tammy Abraham has been exceptional this season, if Wednesday can prevent him from scoring then there is a huge opportunity for us to win this game.
4. And where can they be hurt?
Without question, Villa’s defence has been questionable this season. Only Hull City have conceded more goals in the top half of the table. If we continue to use the flanks and get the ball in the box at every opportunity then I would expect us to score. Patients may be a virtue as I expect this to be a tight affair but I’m sure Villa’s defence will crack at some point if we are persistent.
5. Score prediction
This is such a difficult tie to call, both sides need the win. I hate to say it but if Wednesday were to lose then our play-off dream maybe be over this season. For that reason and because Bruce is facing his former club I will stick my neck out and predict a 2-1 victory to the Owls, but it really could go either way.