Date:Friday December 23 2005
Wednesday face a tough boxing day clash against high-flying Preston North End. PNE are on a run of 13 games without defeat, while the Owls look to get their first win in seven games. The Owls are desperate for three points in a bid to climb out of the relegation zone, while the hosts will want to move in to the play-offs.
Owls boss Paul Sturrock told the official SWFC site: ''It's a very hard game. Although they didn't start the season well at home it is a difficult place to go. In the last couple of weeks they've had impressive results at home and away - they are flying at the moment.''
He continued: ''I look at it as an opportunity. We will be looked at as the underdog but we have to roll our sleeves up even more and sweat blood.''
Paul McKenna will be missing from the PNE squad after sustaining a leg injury at the start of the month. Left-back Callum Davidson is also missing with a thigh injury.
Nugent moved to deepdale for £100,000 after an impressive start to his career at Bury. Since then he's bagged 13 goals in 27 appearances for PNE and has attracted a host of admirers from the Premiership. Despite only scoring five this season, Nugent will still be the biggest threat to the Owls defence.
Paul Sturrock faces a crisis in attack after Daryl Murphy was recalled to Sunderland during the week. David Graham also sustained a knock in last week's game with Ipswich but returned to training midweek and should be fit. Lee Peacock will undergo a late fitness test. Nicky Weaver is set to continue in goal after his loan stay was extended, so a return to Deepdale for David Lucas is unlikely. Steve Maclean, Drew Talbot, John Hills, and Jon-Paul McGovern are still out.
Brunt has been a shining light in a poor season for the Owls, leading the goalscoring charts and also attracting the interest of other Championship clubs. Brunt has missed the last two games, leading Wednesday fans to questions whether the Northern Ireland international will still be at the club in January. His left-foot can cause all sorts of problems with his long-range passing and shooting abilities.
PNE wins: 37
Wednesday wins: 35
Played For Both:
David Lucas, Brian Barry-Murphy, Marlon Broomes, Richard Cresswell, Kevin Gallagher, Lee Briscoe, Nigel Jemson, Dean Barrick, David Reeves, Martin Hodge, Greg Fee.
Facts & Stats:
Deepdale is a bit of a bogey ground for Wednesday, after failing to win their on the last eleven outings.
The last game the Owls played on Christmas Day was against PNE in 1957 which resulted in a 4-4 draw at Hiollsborough.
28/12/05 - Wolverhampton Wanderers (H)
31/12/05 - Burnley (A)
02/01/06 - Crewe Alexandre (H)
07/01/06 - Charlton Athletic (H) (FA CUP)
Date:Friday December 23 2005
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