Wednesday fans may face more Hillsborough frustration
Neither Sheffield Wednesday nor Huddersfield Town have a great deal to play for between now and the season. Town are still in a bit of peril but both sides should finish mid-table. Maybe the atmosphere of a local derby will produce a decent game and there was certainly an edge to their first meeting at the John Smith’s Stadium back in November.
That game produced no goals but plenty of talking points, with Stuart Gray claiming the Owls were denied a stonewall penalty after Chris Maguire was sent tumbling late in the game. Stevie May also struck the crossbar in that encounter but had better luck in Wednesday’s last game at Hillsborough.
Unfortunately, Wednesday couldn’t hold on for maximum points against Fulham that day but did go into the international break off the back of a derby victory against Rotherham at the New York Stadium thanks to stoppage time goals from Atdhe Nuhui and Kieron Lee.
Gray was thankful to substitutes May, Maguire and Caolan Lavery that day as they were instrumental in turning a likely defeat into victory and all three will be pressing for a starting place against the Terriers.
On-loan Lloyd Isgrove made his Wednesday debut in that local derby and the winger will have benefited from the experience but the manager still has a host of big names missing and is unlikely to be hurrying anyone back before they are ready with little at stake.
The last time Huddersfield manager Chris Powell was at Hillsborough, he oversaw a Charlton victory which prevented a Steel City FA Cup quarter-final. He’ll be plotting to upset Wednesday fans again but his team probably still need another couple of wins to be completely safe and they’ve hardly pulled up any trees lately.
Only Fulham and bottom club Blackpool have conceded more goals in the Championship this season and Powell’s team are without a victory in six, only managing draws against Norwich and Birmingham.
But they do have a decent record at Hillsborough, having won on three of the last four visits and drawing the other, and Wednesday’s troubles on home soil, or should that be sand, this season have been well documented. The visitors are likely to give a debut to on-loan Manchester United full-back Reece James and he should tighten up things at the back.
Wednesday fans have only seen four home wins in the league all season and may end up frustrated again. A 10th draw of the campaign could be on the cards at 12/5 with under 2.5 goals in the Totals market priced up at 8/11.
The match kicks off at 3.00pm on Saturday, April 4 at Hillsborough.