Sheffield Wednesday will be looking to extend their unbeaten league run to 13 matches this evening as they travel to the Stadium of Light to face promotion rivals Sunderland, with three points for either side majorly boosting their hopes of returning to the Championship.
If one criticism can be made of the Owls’ current form, it’s the fact they haven’t been able to turn draws into wins regularly enough to force their way into the top six – and their first task will be reducing the gap between themselves and the play-off zone to just two points.
Currently sitting five adrift with MK Dons currently in seventh and ninth-place Portsmouth firmly on their tail with Danny Cowley’s men enjoying their own successful patch of form, Darren Moore’s men will be keen to secure a win in what could be a huge game in their season.
Quiz: Did Sheffield Wednesday do these 22 things in 2021?
A victory against a side that have lost just once at home in the third tier this term would send a real statement out to the rest of the league, but a draw or loss leaves them vulnerable to being dragged back down into midtable in what would be a major disappointment after rebuilding their squad successfully during the summer.
This just goes to show how much of a crucial tie this is, although they would be forgiven for falling to a defeat to Lee Johnson’s side who are currently sitting second in the table.
Wigan Athletic have two games in hand over them at this stage and will most likely climb above the Black Cats at some point because of this, but this shouldn’t take away from their recent results and they will be full of confidence after Monday evening’s 3-0 victory at Doncaster Rovers.
Who will be tasked with dealing with the automatic promotion contenders then? We have predicted the starting 11 manager Moore may go with as they travel up to Wearside.
Bailey Peacock-Farrell has to remain between the sticks as one of Wednesday’s key players, with Joe Wildsmith continuing to deputise and will be waiting patiently in the event the Northern Irishman becomes unavailable.
One change is made in the defence, with Chey Dunkley returning to the starting 11 if he’s fit enough to start from the off, although Moore and his backroom team will be the best judge of that.
This may seem harsh on Ciaron Brennan, but Dunkley is the type of man you have to include if he’s available, especially with the limited centre-backs the League One side current have at their disposal.
Marvin Johnson remains in central defence to provide balance at the back as a left-footed player, and Liam Palmer takes his place on the right. The latter should be commended for doing such a fine job in Dunkley’s absence.
In midfield, Lewis Wing starts as the deepest man again, but it’s Josh Windass who plays alongside Barry Bannan, coming in for Fisayo Dele-Bashiru after being introduced as a substitute against Crewe.
The talented Theo Corbeanu retains his place as a shrewd summer loan signing, and another addition from the previous window in Jack Hunt starts on the right.
Hunt seems to be enjoying life at wing-back – and he will be hoping to continue being a threat after a decent performance in his last outing – even managing to back himself an assist.
Up front, the third and final change of this lineup comes with Florian Kamberi replacing Callum Paterson to mix things up in attack.
From being deemed surplus to requirements at Stoke City in the summer to scoring eight goals in 20 league appearances this term, Lee Gregory deserves a special mention for his efforts and he will continue to be vital for the remainder of the season.