The Championship’s early kickoff on Saturday is a mouthwatering derby between Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds United.
The Owls are currently in seventh place in the league and could potentially overtake Brighton and Ipswich to claim a playoff position with a win.
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The visitors are currently mired in mid-table, but could jump as high as twelfth position, from fifteenth, should they beat Sheffield Wednesday.
The home side have looked excellent at Hillsborough lately, managing some big wins in the Championship and a victory in the third round of the FA Cup.
The pressure of derby day, the presence of the Sky Sports 1 cameras and the possibility of a playoff spot for the home side all help to make this an exciting occasion not to miss.
Wednesday’s side has been potentially weakened by muscle strains impacting Gary Hooper and Fernando Forestieri.
Hooper is on loan from Premier League side Norwich and, if he regains fitness in time for the match, it is set to be his last encounter before returning to the Canaries.
The home team’s defensive prospects aren’t helped by the absences of Tom Lees, who has a hamstring problem, and Michael Turner, who is suffering a knee complaint.
Westwood will also be absent from goal due to an ongoing injury. Wednesday’s only dropped points in their last six games came against Middlesbrough during a tough 1-0 away loss to the league leaders.
The chances of Leeds getting anything at all from this contest haven’t been helped by the absence of striker Chris Wood as of late. Wood could potentially recover from his ongoing hamstring problem in time for the derby, but is not expected to do so.
The Lilywhites will be looking to strengthen, as manager Steve Evans told the BBC:
We’ve got some good players here but we need to get some quality into the club. If the benchmark for getting in the play-offs is Ipswich, then three players could change that for us.”
He added: “It’s frustrating because we’re trying to sign better players and they come from better levels and therefore it’s up to the people behind me to try and get them in.
Leeds are likely to feature Carayol on the wings once more, as the player has made two consecutive appearances since joining from Middlesbrough.
Prior to a midweek loss away at Ipswich, Leeds had been undefeated in four Championship games, and also managed to progress into the fourth round of the FA Cup against Rotherham. Leeds will be hoping to resurrect this type of form for Saturday’s derby.
Sheffield Wednesday are heavily favoured for Saturday’s match but the derby atmosphere, and the early kickoff, mean that this is far from certain.
Brighton have been on a dreadful run as of late, and a Wednesday win could well see the Sheffield side move into the playoff positions.
The match is likely to be intense and full of excitement.