Date:Friday December 29 2006
Wednesday will be looking to end an entertaining 2006 on a high on Saturday as they make the short trip up the M1 for a festvie South Yorkshire derby against Simon Davey's rejuvinated Barnsley side at Oakwell (kick-off 1pm).
The Owls are in hot form following their 2-1 Boxing Day victory at Stoke City - but Oakwell hasn't been a happy hunting ground for past Wednesday teams, and with the clash being our close neighbours 'cup final', it will be anything but an easy three points for Brian Laws and his men.
Owls' stopper Mark Crossley told the official site:
'Obviously it's my hometown club and I'm looking forward to going back. My family is split between Wednesday, Barnsley and Sheffield United. I've had to put up with a lot of stick this week so hopefully we can get the right result so I can return some of it.'
'We've seen in this league that everybody beats everybody. Barnsley had a good result at the weekend and we're on a good run which we want to keep going. The local derbies around Christmas time give the fans an extra buzz. I'm sure it's going to be an enjoyable game.'
Barnsley captain Paul Reid is the biggest doubt for Simon Davey ahead of the clash after the former Northampton man missed the Boxing Day victory after picking up an ankle injury in the previous clash with Leicester City.
Meanwhile, the Tykes will also have a major doubt over the fitness of Neil Austin after he was taken off through injury in Tuesday's match.
Brian Howard is a doubt with a shoulder injury and Simon Davey will also be missing Sam Togwell who sits out his one-match suspension. The highly-rated Rob Atkinson is expected to start at the heart of the Reds' defence.
The former Watford man is a big fans favourite at Oakwell and he will be hoping to send the Tykes' faithful off in 2006 with a smile on their faces in their biggest clash of the campaign. The tricky winger is likely to cause all sorts of problems for the Owls defence - who will need to be on top guard tomorrow.
Wednesday boss Brian Laws looks set to name an unchanged side going in to the match with no fresh injury or suspension worries coming from the clash with Stoke on Tuesday.
Wayne Andrews is likely to undergo a late fitness test but is expected to get the nod while Glenn Whelan should carry on in the centre of midfield alongside Kenny Lunt and Mark Crossley will start against his home town club.
Madjid Bougherra will start despite picking up his fifth yellow card of the campaign at Stoke - a suspension which doesn't kick in until the Owls clash with Manchester City in the FA Cup.
The Northern Ireland international is in hot form at the moment and is reportedly attracting the interest of a number of Premiership clubs including West Ham United. The winger has shown a new lease of life following the arrival of Brian Laws to Hillsborough and is likely to be key in any Owls victory tomorrow.
Last Time Out:
Wednesday 2-1 Barnsley
14th October 2006 - Hillsborough
Wednesday may not have been firing on all cylinders at the start of the campaign - and certainly not when Barnsley visited Hillsborough back in October - but Wednesday still came out on top thanks to a last-gasp stunner from Chris Brunt which gave Wednesday all three points despite a below-par performance.
Barnsley wins: 19
ednesday wins: 28
Barnsley: Colgan, Hassell, Atkinson, Kay, Austin (Heckingbottom 34); Devaney, Togwell, McCann, Kyle Reid; Hayes (Knight 87), Nardiello (Richards 87). Subs not used: Letheren, Williams.
Wednesday: Crossley; Simek, Bougherra, Bullen, Spurr; Andrews (Burton 74), Whelan, Lunt, Brunt (O'Brien 81); MacLean, Tudgay. Subs not used: Adamson, Coughlan, Folly.
Form - Last 5:
-Taken from www.bet365.com-
Barnsley win: 7/5
ednesday win: 13/8
Barnsley v Sheff Wed
ardiff v Crystal Palace
olchester v Wolverhampton
oventry v Southend
erby v Plymouth
ull v Burnley
orwich v QPR
outhampton v Leicester
toke v Leeds
underland v Preston
est Brom v Ipswich
Vs Hull City (H) - 01/01/06
Vs Manchester City (H FA Cup) - 07/01/06
Vs Derby County (A) - 13/01/06
Date:Friday December 29 2006
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