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Sheffield Wednesday came into the new season with the clear aim of winning promotion back to the Championship this time around, and they quickly established themselves in the leading pack of England’s third tier with seven wins and 23 points from their first 11 outings.
The Owls would then fall just short away at league leaders Plymouth Argyle but quickly bounced back and remained within touching distance of the top two with a 3-0 beating of Cheltenham Town before making it back-to-back victories as a Lee Gregory brace made the difference in a 2-0 triumph away at Cambridge United.
Aiming to make it three on the bounce and continue building pressure on Plymouth and second-placed Ipswich Town, Darren Moore‘s side travelled to take on Lincoln City at the weekend and took an early lead through Gregory, only to be pegged back by a Daniel Mandroiu equaliser early in the second half, meaning they left with a share of the spoils before returning to action at home to Bristol Rovers on Wednesday.
They would again go ahead in the first half, with Michael Smith finding the net, but Moore’s men experienced a repeat of Saturday’s game as Josh Coburn equalised for their opponents, who would stand strong to force a share of the spoils, with Owls goalkeeper David Stockdale even being called into action late on at Hillsborough with a save from close range to ensure they at least took a point.
Having now dropped five points behind the two in-form leaders as a result of their somewhat disappointing results in the last week, the Owls will be desperate not to lose any further ground in the fight for top spots at this early stage of the season and will look to get back to winning ways on home turf on Saturday.
They welcome a Burton Albion side hoping to improve their position in a different fight, with the visitors struggling at the bottom end of the table with just 12 points from their 16 games thus far.
Following the exit of Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink early in the season, the appointment of Dino Maamria has seemed to bring about marginal improvement, and they enjoyed an important brief run of results earlier in October, firstly playing out 1-1 draws away at Peterborough United and at home to Morecambe before scoring a crucial 1-0 victory at home to Cheltenham Town thanks to Victor Adeboyejo‘s 77th-minute goal.
On the back of that confidence-boosting win, the Brewers most recently travelled to take on Bolton Wanderers on Tuesday, and they looked set to leave with three more points, leading 1-0 thanks to Sam Hughes‘s goal going into the dying minutes, but Amadou Bakayoko would draw their hosts level before Jon Dadi Bodvarsson snatched all three points in the eighth minute of added time, cruelly condemning Burton to a 10th league defeat of the season.
Sheffield Wednesday are set to remain without important defender Ben Heneghan through injury, meaning Jaden Brown could again join Michael Ihiekwe and Mark McGuinness in a back three if Moore sticks with his preferred setup.
That could see Barry Bannan again joined by George Byers in the engine room, although Fisayo Dele-Bashiru and Will Vaulks are also pushing to start in the centre.
The Owls boast an abundance of attacking options, and summer arrival Michael Smith is bound to keep his place after opening the scoring against Bristol Rovers, while Josh Windass remains a key man and Lee Gregory hit three goals in the two games prior to Wednesday’s draw, with Callum Paterson and Mallik Wilks also vying for starting spots up front.
After a largely pleasing performance away at Bolton, Maamria may deploy an unchanged Burton Albion side for Saturday’s trip, with a relatively cautious back five expected to be fielded.
Their line will be led by Victor Adeboyejo, who has hit seven goals in 16 League One appearances following his summer switch from Barnsley, with Davis Keillor-Dunn set to join him in the front two.
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Sam Hughes, Adrian Mariappa and Tim Hamer should again line up in the middle of the defence, with Adedeji Oshilaja again likely to offer further stability at the base of midfield.
Sheffield Wednesday possible starting lineup:
Stockdale; McGuinness, Ihiekwe, Brown; Palmer, Bannan, Byers, Johnson; Windass; Smith, Gregory
Burton Albion possible starting lineup:
Garratt; Brayford, Hughes, Mariappa, Hamer, Borthwick-Jackson; Onyango, Oshilaja, Taylor; Adeboyejo, Keillor-Dunn