Skipper standing in Llera’s way

Fit again: Miguel Llera is challenging for a comeback after injury but Rob Jones has played well
Fit again: Miguel Llera is challenging for a comeback after injury but Rob Jones has played well

GARY Megson will think carefully about every area of his team as he gets down to selecting his starting line-up for the derby.

Some clubs, and Wednesday sometimes have been one of them, have a side that is going well and almost picks itself.

The Owls manager must make one change on Sunday because of Jermaine Johnson’s injury but he will have more issues on his mind that that.

With the team having lost three times since Miguel Llera dropped out because of injury, the question of whether or not the Spanish centre half reclaims his place from Rob Jones is once again to the fore, as the Owls make plans to combat the threat of Ched Evans and Richard Cresswell.

Llera was playing well and keeping Jones out of the side until he had to miss the FA Cup replay against Blackpool.

The Spaniard returned to the team at Exeter but had to go off when the Owls were winning 1-0 and before they lost to two free kicks.

With seven stitches in a cut above his eye, Llera missed the Stevenage game but, after the stitches were removed, he was on the bench at Chesterfield.

Jones, however, has staked a strong claim of his own with some sterling defending in the last couple of games. He is also captain, has played in a Sheffield derby, knows the demands it entails, and could keep his place on Sunday.

There is little to choose between the two; both are tall and strong in the air. Jones is slightly the taller and maybe has a slight edge in this department. Llera seems the more elegant on the ball. Both are dangerous at set-pieces.

Megson never divulges his side beforehand, but he does say: “Miguel had his stitches out; the reason he wasn’t in the team was that Rob responded well to the competition and has played great in the last two games.”

The mobile and defensively strong Danny Batth is a sure-fire starter as the other centre-half and has played in every league game this season - a reflection of his form.

Megson probably will not feel that a profound improvement in the team’s defensive standards is necessary, as generally they have looked pretty solid in recent games, apart from the occasional lapse at set-pieces, and they did improve at Chesterfield in this respect.

Midfield may be harder to guess, with Michail Antonio added to the options that already included, from last Saturday’s 16 alone, Chris Lines, Jose Semedo, David Prutton and John Bostock.

Chris Sedgwick, Liam Palmer and January signing Mike Jones were not involved at Chesterfield.

If Antonio plays on one flank, right or left. then the question is: Who plays on the other? It looks like a choice between Lines, Prutton and Bostock

Team form is a subject on which ex-Owls captain Lee Bullen has touched. He believes it is irrelevant to a game such as this. “Form means nothing going into this game, it 100 per cent goes out of the window,” he said.

“I’ve watched Wednesday earlier in the season against Oldham and Preston, and they played some fantastic football.

“They looked a team full of confidence.

“In this league, anything can happen and there will always be ups and downs and little blips in form.”