Off-form favourites go head to head at Hillsborough
Sheffield Wednesday and Southampton set for Saturday showdown Sheffield Wednesday and Southampton were given top billing in League One by the bookmakers prior to the start of the season but seven matches into the 2010/11 campaign things aren’t exactly going to plan for either side. The Owls got off to a flier in August and topped the table at the end of the month but haven’t picked up a point in their three games since. Southampton’ stuttering start cost manager Alan Pardew his job. He has recently been replaced by former Scunthorpe boss Nigel Adkins and the Saints have only amassed 5 points thus far. Wednesday’s poor run of form has left manager Alan Irvine contemplating changes. None of the Owls strikers have managed to find the net in the last three games and Paul Heffernan must be in contention for a rare start with Clinton Morrison, Marcus Tudgay and Neil Mellor all failing to fire. Tommy Miller must be in with a shout of a starting place after impressing from the substitutes bench in the defeat at Plymouth whilst Gary Teale, who was an unused substitute in the 3-2 defeat at Home Park could also get a recall. Jamaican winger Jermaine Johnson is yet to feature this season due to injury and is still not fit to return. Daniel Jones and Jon Otsemobor are the options should Irvine choose to tinker with the full-back positions. Southampton will definitely be without key attacking midfield player Adam Lallana as he is out for at least another month with a knee injury. Former Leeds full-back Frazer Richardson is sidelined with a dislocated shoulder and experienced striker David Connolly may also miss out. Centre-back Aaron Martin could return having sat out the last two fixtures due to a troublesome back problem. Nigel Adkins first match in charge of the Saints resulted in a 0-0 home draw with Colchester last weekend, bringing to an end a run of 4 straight defeats in league and cup. Southampton’s only league win of the season to date was a comprehensive 4-0 victory away at Bristol Rovers at the end of August. Wednesday’s 1-0 loss to Carlisle two weeks ago was their first home defeat of the season. Worryingly, after a solid start defensively, the Owls have failed to keep a clean sheet in all 4 of their matches in September. Recent meetings between the two teams have gone in Wednesday’s favour as they have lost just once in their last 6 encounters. The Saints have only won on 5 of the 40 occasions that they have visited the Owls in total, losing 21 of these matches.
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