Sheffield Wednesday will be hoping to keep up their push for promotion from League One as we move into 2012. The Owls are unbeaten at home so far this season and with their next 3 league games all taking place at Hillsborough they will be looking for a good haul of points in the coming weeks, starting with the visit of Tranmere.
2011 ended in impressive fashion for Gary Megson’s side thanks to a 2-0 victory at Preston on Saturday and few changes are expected to be made to the side that won at Deepdale.
Goalkeeper Stephen Bywater has returned to the club on loan but may have to settle for a place on the bench despite his good form in his initial loan spell as Nicky Weaver kept a clean sheet on his return to the team following a lengthy injury lay-off.
Owls captain Rob Jones missed the weekend win due to a back problem and if he is not deemed fit to return then Miguel Llera may continue to partner Danny Batth at the heart of the defence with Jon Otsemobor at right-back. James Tavernier impressed having switched from full-back to wide midfield against Preston and may keep his place in that position. Lewis Buxton is close to a return from injury but may not be risked with the current defensive unit having kept a clean sheet last time out.
Tranmere come into the game having had an extra day’s rest and Rovers also finished 2011 on a high with a 2-0 home victory against Bury.
Former Wednesday loan striker Enoch Showunmi will not feature against his former club having recently picked up an injury and the visitors are also expected to be without midfielder John Welsh, defender Ian Goodison and first-choice goalkeeper Owain Fon-Williams.
The Owls unbeaten home record was given a stern test last time out at Hillsborough when Huddersfield raced into a 2-0 lead before going behind 4-2 only to come back to deny the Owls with a late equaliser. That was only the 2nd time in 10 home league games that Wednesday have failed to pick up maximum points.
Tranmere’s win against Bury brought to an end a 6-game losing streak in all competitions. They have won 3 and lost 6 of their 10 away games in League One so far this season.
Wednesday enjoyed a 2-1 win at Rovers in November thanks to goals from Lines and Lowe after they had fallen behind to a Jose Baxter strike.
Tranmere will be keen to forget last seasons visit to Hillsborough as they lost 4-0 there in April.