Preview: Walsall v Owls
The Bescot Stadium, Walsall
Saturday, April 23
Wednesday may have little else but pride to play for in their remaining four games of the season, but boss Gary Megson will be keen for his side to finish the season strongly.
The Owls boss is trying to eradicate the losing feeling which was present for much of his early stay as manager and gain a winning momentum to take into the summer.
Walsall will also be desperate for points as they look to move out of the bottom four. Owls old boy Dean Smith is in charge of the Saddlers and will be hoping to avoid a drop to League Two.
Former Owl Dean Smith, now manager at Walsall, told their official site:
Sheffield Wednesday are a big club. Whilst there is nothing for them to play for in terms of promotion or relgation, they will have the pressure on their shoulders that they always get from their fans who will travel here in large numbers and be very vocal.
'I'm sure that Gary Megson will have them fired up to finish the season strongly; he has great credentials and the experience needed to turn things around, but we will be fully focussed and determined to get the three points on offer.'
Walsall Team News:
The Saddlers have been hit and miss at home in recent weeks but have collected some big wins at the Bescot Stadium. They beat Southampton 1-0 at the start of March and demolished Hartlepool United 5-2.
Walsall fans will be hoping for more of the same against Wednesday as they aim to bounce back from defeat at home against champions Brighton last time out.
The Saddlers will be without former Owl Aaron Lescott, who is sidelined through a knee injury. Boss Smith has also been dealt a blow with the news that powerful centre-back Clayton McDonald will be out for the rest of the season after dislocating his shoulder.
Oliver Lancashire and Manny Smith will both be pushing for his place in the starting eleven alongside skipper Andy Butler.
Walsall will also be without Emmanuel Ledesma, who is suspended following his sending off against Brighton.
Former Rotherham United striker Darren Byfield will be hoping for a return to the starting eleven after dropping to the bench for last weekend's clash with the Seagulls.
Player to watch: Jon Macken
The former Manchester City and Barnsley striker will need to help find the goals that fire Walsall to safety this season. He'll be the biggest attacking threat for the Owls defence to deal with.
Wednesday Team News:
Wednesday will be without defender Mark Beevers for the rest of the season after the centre-back suffered a fractured cheekbone.
Beevers will be a big miss for Wednesday but Reda Johnson's return from a groin injury comes at just the right time. It's unlikely he'll replace either Danny Batth or Rob Jones in the heart of the Owls defence though following recent good performances.
Tommy Miller will be available for selection despite picking up a knock in the Owls' 2-0 victory over Hartlepool United last time out.
On-loan goalkeeper Lee Nicholls is set to get a run-out before he returns to parent club Wigan Athletic at the end of the season but it's unknown whether that will come in the Midlands or whether Richard O'Donnell will continue between the sticks.
Megson has no other injury or suspension concerns.
Player to watch: Gary Madine
Madine got back on the scoresheet last weekend and he'll be hoping to finish the campaign with a good goal haul, continuing at Walsall this weekend.
Match Facts & Stats
Walsall wins: 3
Wednesday wins: 10
Last Time Out:
Wednesday 3-0 Walsall
Wednesday eased to a convincing victory when the sides met earlier in the season. Darren Potter broke the deadlock early on before Mark Beevers and Clinton Morrison made it a comfortable day at the office for the Owls.
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