Sheffield Wednesday: Zayatte may face vital task

Chris Kirkland hands the ball to Charlie Austin after the 3-3 draw at Burnley last season in which the striker scored a hat-trick
Chris Kirkland hands the ball to Charlie Austin after the 3-3 draw at Burnley last season in which the striker scored a hat-trick

New defender Kamil Zayatte could today be handed the task of shackling an Owls old enemy who is one of the country’s most prolific scorers.

QPR’s new £4m signing Charlie Austin hit a hat-trick for Burnley against Wednesday last season and is seen by Hoops boss Harry Redknapp as a striker who can help to propel his relegated outfit back to the Premier League.

But Dave Jones expects Zayatte to tighten the Owls defence after finally landing him on a two-year contract and including him in the squad for today’s opener at Loftus Road.

Jones has been awaiting international clearance before confirming his line-up but he was impressed with Zayatte’s three pre-season performances and may well want him to recreate his Hull City partnership with Anthony Gardner, at the expense of Miguel Llera.

Both clubs have been keeping their rivals guessing about today’s line-ups.

Redknapp, however, looks set to give Austin a debut after he scored scored 28 goals for Burnley last season.

Owls winger Jeremy Helan believes that today’s test against the bookmakers’ Championshiop favourites can be a guide to Wednesday’s progress.

“It could be the best opening game for us,” he said. “Starting against a good side will help us to see where we are and what we can achieve.”