Writer: Auckland Owl
Date:Saturday September 1 2007
After squeezing through to the next round of the Carling Cup in midweek against Hartlepool, the Owls will try once again to get their league campaign under way, at home to Bristol City.
City boss Gary Johnson told the BCFC official web site his players are motived by the chance to top the Championship table, due to the early start for the Sky cameras.
"It is a motivation, albeit for ten minutes or however long it is you can be top of the league. That's what we are playing for and the chasing pack then have to chase you. It would certainly be nice after four games to look down on all the other teams.'
He warned 'They (Wednesday) will be a threat and it's certainly the case of 'beware the wounded animal'. We'd treat them as a threat wherever they are in the table, but certainly being bottom with no points they are going to treat this as a massive game, especially at home. Brian Laws will have his side up for it, so we have to make sure we're up for it... they'll have a big crowd there and an early goal would really help our cause. We'll be going there for the win, as always.'
Owls new boys Etienne Esajas and Akpo Sodje are clear to play: Sodje in particular must be favourite for at least a run out due to the departure of Leon Clarke and fitness concerns over other candidates for the striker spots, Francis Jeffers in particular.
It remains to be seen whether boss Brian Laws will continue with Lee Grant in goal, Rob Burch completing the Carling Cup match in midweek and pressing for his first start. Last gasp scorer against 'Pool Yoann Folly would be disappointed to miss out on a place in the team this weekend.
Steve Watson should be available to help shore up the defence, but Wade Small will probably not be risked in the early stages of a comeback from a hamstring strain.
Owls fans will be hoping to get more than a glimpse of the talent of the speedy ex-Vitesse Arnhem left winger - Etienne fills the gap left by Chris Brunt's £3m departure to West Bromwich Albion.
New boy Darren Byfield will be pushing for a starting place alongside the prolific Lee Trundle - a pairing that should guarantee City success against opposing defences this season.
Winger Ivan Sproule will be hoping to feature for the first time in the Championship this season, after his four game disciplinary ban incurred whilst at Hibernian last season.
David Noble, Steve Brooker and Jamie McCombe will be missing for the visitors.
Almost an ever-present since replacing long time City stalwart Steve Phillips in 2005/6, the always watchable Basso has become a Robins favourite, with flamboyant saves and his habit of pointing to the sky when his name is called over the PA. He's the only Brazilian goalkeeper in the English League.
Bristol City W-L-W-D-D-W
Previous Line Ups:
Wednesday: Burch; Simek, Hinds, Wood, Spurr; Johnson, Lunt (Folly 108), Whelan, O'Brien (Boden 108); Tudgay (Bullen 94), Burton (Capt).
Unused Subs: Grant, Gilbert.
Bristol City: Weale, Orr (Jevons 86), Carey, Fontaine, McAllister, McIndoe, Johnson, Elliott, Brian Wilson (Sproule 52), Murray, Trundle.
Unused Subs: Basso, Skuse, Vasko.
Last Time Out:
Owls 2 (McGovern 52, Wood 61)
Bristol City 3 (Brooker 24, 45, Wiltshire 81 pen)
29 May 2005, the last game before the playoffs that season.
A two week international break means the next Owls outing is away at Preston on September 15th (KO 15:00).
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Date:Saturday September 1 2007
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