Sheffield Wednesday v Barnsley: Preview
Sheffield Wednesday vs The Reds
Saturday 30th March
Kick off 15:00
As the two South Yorkshire rivals lock horns this Saturday, Tom Bestwick previews the action with the low-down on our rivals...
League form over the last five league fixtures: W, L, L, W, L
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After gaining promotion last season to the Championship, the Owls have struggled to adjust to life back in the second tier, and have languished at the wrong end of the table for most of the campaign, though they are in a much more stable position. Gone are the days of winding up petitions, and boardroom turmoil that clouded the club back in 2010 that ultimately was a factor as the club fell through the relegation trapdoor.
Those troubles were swept under the carpet in 2010 when a Serbian businessman going by the name of Milan Mandarić took over the Steele City side. He was to make a promise of hard work first, and champagne later as he held a firm belief that, under his ownership, the Owls could return to the Premier League.
The former Portsmouth and Leicester City owner has never been afraid to show his ruthless side, and after wielding the axe on Gary Megson, despite him beating the Owls’ fierce neighbours Sheffield United and commanding a play-off position, he brought in their current manager Dave Jones. The history books show that the controversial decision paid off, and the Owls clinched promotion back to the second flight when they recorded their 17th home win of the season and beat Wycombe Wanderers to overtake their Steele City neighbours, United.
Mandarić and Jones targeted a second successive promotion in the summer and brought in a wealth of talent in a bid to replicate the efforts of Norwich City, and Southampton last season. Anthony Gardener and Chris Kirkland, two players who have played at the highest level for England, were brought in, but with a lack of fire power being one of the factors of Wednesday’s poor season, Jones has recently brought in Leroy Lita to try and help the club avoid an instant return to League One.
Who’s their star man…?
With nine games remaining to fight off relegation back to League One, the Owls will have to go into the last month of the season without Michail Antonio. The winger has been the club’s star performer by some distance, with nine goals, and nine assists to his name. The 22-year-old had featured in all of their league games this season until he suffered a groin injury during Wednesday’s defeat to league leaders Cardiff City.
Their season so far…
After being billed as potential promotion dark horse, the club has failed to live up to its expectations. After a poor first four months of the campaign, and in that time only picking up four wins, Dave Jones guided his side to only one defeat in 12 matches from December to the end of February. A tough run of fixtures during this month has seen the Owls play four sides in the top six and with three defeats from those four games, the Hillsborough club find themselves only one point and one place above the bottom three.
Sheffield Wednesday recorded their largest margin of victory when they went face-to-face with an Ipswich Town side, managerless, and rooted to the foot of the Championship table back in October. It was the Owls’ first away win in the Championship since January 2010 after on-loan Everton prodigy Ross Barkley and Michail Antonio secured a comfortable 3-0 victory at Portman Road.
The month of November was a time to forget for Dave Jones’ side as they lost five straight matches, the final game of the month being against a free scoring Watford side. Antonio was again on the score sheet after the third minute Wednesday fell apart. Fernando Forestieri equalised in the first half, before second half goals from Alexandre Geijo, Troy Deeney and Mark Yeates meant the Owls lost 4-1 and remained second bottom of the Championship.
A blast from the past…
History shows that the Tykes have only come away from Sheffield Wednesday seven times with victory.
Jamal Campbell-Ryce's 38th-minute goal proved to be the winner the last time the Reds emerged victorious at Hillsborough. 17/2/09
The last time was in February 2009, before that you have to go back to the early 80’s to when Barnsley tasted victory. The first game of the 2009/10 season saw the two south South Yorkshire sides go head to head at Hillsborough, and Barnsley fought back from 2-0 down to secure a draw. The second-half fight back was complete after Jacob Butterfield and Jon Macken cancelled out Jermaine Johnson and Michael Gray’s early goals.
The Reds will be without injured defensive duo Jim McNulty and Scott Golbourne, but Stephen Dawson is eager for a place in the starting XI having recovered from ankle ligament damage to claim a place on the bench for the Reds' last two matches. On loan striker Chris O'Grady isn't eligible to feature against his parent club.
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