Sheffield Wednesday: Owls out to clip Boro wings

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Losing one of the best full backs in the Championship is not ideaL when you are about to face a side with two dangerous wingers.

That is why the Owls will be hoping that Lewis Buxton is fit to join Reda Johnson in the battle against Middlesbrough.

Lewis Buxton faces a late check on his hamstring injury

Lewis Buxton faces a late check on his hamstring injury

Tony Mowbray has pace and skill on the flanks thanks to Albert Adomah and Mustapha Carayol.

How Dave Jones would love to have so much money that he can spend £1m on one player, which Mowbray did when he bought Adomah from Bristol City this month.

A late decision will be made on Buxton and if he fails to make it because of a hamstring problem than Liam Palmer looks set to deputise once again. Jones has faith in Palmer, and while attempting to clip Boro’s wings he will also look to the Owls’ own pace merchants to thrive.

The Owls boss always likes to have a go at the opposotion away from home but admits that often that comes in the form of counter-attacking.

“We have a certain way of playing,” he says. “We know what we’re doing.”

Palmer gets forward arguably as well as Buxton. Reda obviously is a threat to the opposition, and Jermaine Johnson, Jacques Maghoma, Michail Antonio and Jeremy Helan are all quick on the break.

“It’s slightly different if you’re at home,” admits Jones. “We have to be more adventuous and progressive there; we have the players for that. I just think that at home we have to be more in control of the ball and what we are doing with it.

“Away, maybe we can counter=attack a bit quicker because teams are attacking us as they’re the home side, and the home side are asked to go forward more and they’re expected to win.

“We probably are, or were last season, better equipped to be away rather than at home.

“But it’s important that we give our fans a home win; we should have got it last Saturday, and we should have got something against Burnley. You want to keep those fans coming.

“And the away fans deserve a performance, with the amount of money they spend. I’m always aware of that, and the players should be aware of it as well. The fans are coming to watch us and we have to give them a performance.”

Hamstring injuries normally take longer than a week to clear up, so Buxton’s chances may be slim.

Last season’s Player of the Year had a month’s lay-off from last September because of a hamstring injury.

On the other hand, he went off with a hamstring problem during the home game against Watford in November but played four days later at Cardiff.

Jermaine Johnson’s availability after his three-match ban will increase the team’s counter-attacking capability whether he starts or comes on an impact player, and whether he plays up front or out wide.

A switch for Palmer to right back to replace Buxton would create a right-side gap that could be filled by JJ or Antonio, with one of those two playing up front.

Jones acknowledges the Middlesbrough threats: “The side I saw play Wigan the other day was a very good side that can do as well as us, and we feel we have decent side.

“They have spent money. They probably deserved more than they got against Wigan (a draw), Wigan dug in and got their reward. Again it shows how tight the division is.

“Wigan have just come down and their expectations are to go straight back up, but a side who finished below mid-table were unlucky not win.”

Jones still thinks the Owls are only two or three players away from being able to compete for a top-half spot, and could have won all four of their games but must minimise errors.

Efforts to make loan or free-transfer signings before Monday’s deadline continue.