Sheffield Wednesday: On-form duo face Holt challenge

Glenn Loovens will be out to keep Grant Holt quiet
Glenn Loovens will be out to keep Grant Holt quiet

Roger Johnson and Glenn Loovens will have their blossoming centre-back partnership tested tonight by a player who has special cause to make a mark at Hillsborough.

It will be Grant Holt’s first game against the Owls since they let him go to Rochdale for £10,000, in January, 2004.

Wednesday were then in the third tier, with Holt having scored on his full debut in the 1-1 draw at Brighton that confirmed their relegation the previous spring,

His final apearance was as a sub in a 2-0 win against Peterborough just before he left.

Holt, who was signed for £7,500 as a youngster from Barrow in March, 2003, went on to become a prolific scorer for Rochdale, Forest, Shrewsbury and Norwich, a Premier League regular with the Canaries and a £2m man when they sold him to Wigan in the summer.

He scored four goals for Wednesday, in 15 starts and 15 appearances as a sub. But Johnson and Loovens will be aiming for a second consecutive clean sheet.

Stuart Gray said: “We have ended up frustrating teams, who have ended up putting the ball in the box, going long, which is food and drink for Roger and Glenn. They know how to head and clear it. But the pleasing thing is it’s not just them, we have defended as 11, and attack as 11.

“Credit to them on Saturday, they all put their bodies on the line. When that ball came into the box, Roger and Glenn are willing put their head in where it hurts.

“I am a great believer in football intelligence and reading the game, and both Roger and Glenn have that in abundance. You don’t have to be the quickest player, you just have to be in the right place when you are defending.

“It’s the organisation around them as well; they pull people around. They enjoy defending; they don’t mind getting hit with the ball.”