Sheffield Wednesday make the short trip to local rivals Barnsley on Saturday with Alan Irvine leading the Owls for the first time in what promises to be a red hot South Yorkshire derby to warm up the big freeze.
The new Wednesday boss has a healthy squad to pick from with only midfielder Tommy Miller, utility defender Richard Hinds and reserve goalkeeper Richard O’Donnell unavailable for selection.
Irvine has kept his cards close to his chest in the build up to his first game in charge though he is thought to be an admirer of Francis Jeffers and so the front man could get yet another chance to belatedly prove his worth to the Wednesday faithful. Akpo Sodje is another option in attack having returned from his latest loan spell at Charlton.
Michael Gray has been a notable absentee for a good proportion of the Owls dismal run of form due to a combination of illness and injury and the experienced former England international could be in line for a timely return to the side. Wednesday have missed the shape and the calm, assured passing that he has previously provided in a wide midfield role but he could also come in at left-back with Tommy Spurr struggling for form.
Barnsley welcome new signing Nathan Doyle to their squad ahead of the South Yorkshire derby. The former Hull City midfielder had previously spent a spell on loan at Oakwell earlier in the season.
The only injury concerns for Reds boss Mark Robins are Bobby Hassell and Hugo Colace with both set to undergo late fitness tests.
Irvine is faced with delivering the Owls their first win in 13 matches. The Owls have picked up just 3 points from the last 33 available in the league and they have managed just 1 win in 11 away games in the Championship.
Barnsley meanwhile have lost their last 2 games but both were away from Oakwell and they had previously gone 8 matches without defeat. The Tykes are currently 11 points ahead of the Owls in the table with both sides having played 23 games.
The two sides last met on the opening day of the season at Hillsborough. Wednesday raced in a 2-0 lead thanks to an impressive first half display but failed to turn up for the second 45 minutes and the visitors came back to earn a point.
Barnsley won last season’s Oakwell clash by 2 goals to 1, prior to that Wednesday had not lost in their previous 4 visits to their South Yorkshire rivals.