Wednesday must get promotion push back on track this weekend

Last updated : 14 January 2011 By C. Morris

Sheffield Wednesday enjoyed a fine win followed by a favourable draw in the F.A. Cup last weekend but their priority for this season has to be promotion back to the championship and having fallen out of the play-off places due to results elsewhere in midweek a positive result against Charlton at Hillsborough this weekend is vital.

New signings Reda Johnson and Michael Morrison could both make their home debuts following impressive displays on debut at Bristol City last weekend. With right-backs Lewis Buxton and Jon Otsemobor not yet fit to return to the fold Morrison looks certain to start at full-back while Johnson will be vying with Mark Beevers for a place alongside captain Darren Purse in the heart of the defence.

Midfielder Giles Coke has returned to training following knee surgery but is lacking match fitness and is unlikely to be in the side. After last Saturday’s excellent result boss Alan Irvine may well choose to go with the same side that beat championship opposition so convincingly last time out.

Charlton travel to Sheffield with Keith Peacock likely to remain in caretaker charge of the team following the departure of manager Phil Parkinson earlier in the month. There are strong rumours circulating however that former Athletic defender Chris Powell will be appointed as the new manager before the weekend.

The visitors have added the loan signing of Liverpool striker Nathan Eccleston to their ranks this week and he will go straight into the squad for the Hillsborough clash.  One-time Sheffield United loan winger Lee Martin could also come back into the side having been cup-tied for last weekend’s defeat at Spurs.

Charlton will definitely be without long-term injury victim Kelly Youga and striker Paul Benson, who continues to serve a 3-match ban. Ex-Owls forward Akpo Sodje is unlikely to start the game but should be included in the Londoners squad.

The Owls will be looking to build on last weekend’s cup win and put a run of two successive league defeats behind them. Wednesday’s home form of late is good having not lost at Hillsborough since November 2nd, a run of 5 matches.

Charlton are on a dire run of form having not won any of their last 6 matches in all competitions. They have a respectable record on their travels in the league this season having won 4 and drawn 3 of 11 away matches thus far.

Wednesday lost out to a solitary goal from Scott Wagstaff at the Valley back in October but have a good recent record against Charlton at Hillsborough.  The Owls won the last Championship meeting between the sides 4-1 almost 2 years ago to the day and have only lost one of the last seventeen games against the Londoners at Hillsborough dating back to 1953. That defeat came in the F.A. Cup 5 years ago when the visitors won by 4 goals to 2.