SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY: Race on for Owls duo

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IT is D-Day for Sheffield Wednesday stars Jay Bothroyd and Anthony Gardner today as the club gear up for two big games that could help to re-shape their season.

Facing basement club Ipswich tomorrow and third-from-bottom Peterborough the following saturday, the next-to-bottom Owls hope to have the two high-profile signings back.

The duo will be assessed today after missing the 1-0 defeat at Blackburn because of injuries.

Gardner was sidelined by a swollen knee, Bothroyd by an ankle injury after being doubtful earlier because of illness.

Manager Dave Jones explained: “Jay was ill on Friday night but he has also had a swollen ankle; we tried to get him up and running on Tuesday but it was still too swollen.

“We think we might have him for Saturday, and Anthony as well - he’s had a swollen knee. It was unfortunate for them. But they’ve got to try it again on Friday and we’ll see how they are.”

Having both back would be a double boost, with Gardner having been on form and Bothroyd having scored against Leeds and given his best performance since he moved to Hillsborough.

Jones steered away from giving special billing to the Ipswich and Peterborough matches, saying: “Every game we play is important, not just the next two.”

He takes comfort from the way the team created chances at Blackburn even without Bothroyd: “You’re always going to miss somebody like Jay, because he’s a good player, but the players who came in didn’t play badly. We just have to keep plugging away. If we weren’t creating, there would be major problems; we are creating and getting into good positions.”

If Gardner does not make it then Martin Taylor, who returned as captain at Blackburn, looks set to continue, and if Bothroyd is out then the recalled Jermaine Johnson will hope to stay in the side.