Wednesday need a win to keep their distance from trouble

Owls Vs Birmingham City: Team news & preview

Sheffield Wednesday face Birmingham City at Hillsborough on Saturday and a win would see them move towards a comfortable position away from the relegation zone but defeat could drag them towards trouble at the foot of the table.

Jos Luhukay was dealt a double blow this week with this week with the news that Barry Bannan and Keiren Westwood have suffered setbacks on their planned returns to fitness and are unlikely to feature for the Owls anytime soon. While Joe Wildsmith has provided excellent cover in place of Westwood in goal Wednesday have lacked creativity of late without the likes of Bannan and fellow injury-prone stars such as Kieran Lee, Fernando Forestieri and Gary Hooper.

Better news on the injury front is that centre-backs Tom Lees and Joost Van Aken could be back in contention in the next week or two as they return to full training. Marco Matias missed the midweek draw at Middlesbrough but the attacker’s fitness will be assessed on Friday as to his potential availability this weekend.

Birmingham are sweating on the fitness of attacking midfielders Jacques Maghoma and David Davis. Both picked up knocks in their midweek win against Sunderland and manager Steve Cotterill stated that one of the pair is highly unlikely to feature and the other is rated as 50-50.

The Blues are not short of options in midfield as former Brentford playmaker Jota and ex-Aston Villa man Craig Gardner will come into contention to replace Maghoma and Davis if they don’t make it. Striker Isaac Vassell, who scored the winner when the two teams met earlier in the season, is sidelined due to a knee injury.

Wednesday have improved under new boss Jos Luhukay and have found their scoring boots in the F.A. Cup but goals have been harder to come by in the league. Luhukay’s first 3 Championship matches have ended in 0-0 draws and prior to his appointment the Owls had failed to score in 3 of their previous 5 league games, winning just one of those matches.

Birmingham have been in the relegation zone for the majority of the season so far but dragged themselves out and up to 20th place with Tuesday’s home win against Sunderland and they have picked up 10 points from the last 5 Championship games. The Blues away form however is currently the worst in the division with just 1 win and 4 draws from their 14 games on the road so far.

Wednesday suffered a 1-0 defeat at St. Andrews back in September but have beaten Birmingham 4 times at Hillsborough since winning promotion in 2012 and the other meeting since then ended 0-0.