Injury-hit Wednesday will need to dig deep to hold high-fliers Derby
You can’t blame Carlos Carvalhal for rotating his squad again at Stoke in midweek. Victories over Newcastle and Arsenal in the Capital One Cup earlier vindicated similar decisions and it wasn’t as if Wednesday were blown away by their Premier League hosts at the Britannia Stadium on Wednesday.
The Championship and a possible play-off place remain Carvalhal’s primary target this season and a few players will have been happy to have a few days rest with several carrying injuries. Tom Lees, Jack Hunt, Michael Turner, Glenn Loovens, Vincent Sasso, Rhoys Wiggins, Ross Wallace, Barry Bannan, Sam Hutchinson, Marco Matias, Lucas Joao and Gary Hooper are all carrying knocks in one form or another and some have been playing through the pain barrier.
All those who said that Wednesday’s squad was too big are now being made to eat their words with resources looking a little stretched as we approach the busy Christmas period. But, fortunately, there is quality in reserve and the likes of Lewis McGugan, Jose Semedo, Atdhe Nuhui and Jeremy Helan will all be hoping for a recall against high-flying Derby County at Hillsborough this Sunday.
Scotland’s Chris Martin has scored eight times this season for Derby but hasn’t managed any in his last five. But his side have won five of their last six and started the weekend just a couple of points off the top. Wednesday have lost two of their last four after a long unbeaten run but these are still exciting times at Hillsborough.
The Owls are within touching distance off a top six spot and have only lost once in front of their own fans this season. Fernando Forestieri, who wasn’t eligible to play at Stoke, is their top scorer and the Italian also has three assists to his name. But Kieran Lee is also proving a threat from midfield and is 11/2 to be an Anytime Goalscorer against Derby. Joao started at Stoke on Wednesday but has done his best work from the bench so far and is 23/10 in the same market.
Derby probably have the strongest squad, on paper, in the Championship and have hit their stride. But Wednesday are a real force at Hillsborough nowadays and, despite their injury problems, will still put out a strong side. This promises to be a tight affair with Under (2.5) in our Goals Under/Over market at 5/8 – Wednesday’s last five home matches against teams in the top six have been low-scoring affairs. A 0-0 Correct Score is 27/4 with 1-1 available at 22/5.
The match kicks off at 1.15pm on Sunday, December 6 at Hillsborough
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