SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY: Anthony Gardner may miss clash with old club

won't be rushed back: Anthony Gardner is recovering from a hamstring injury.                       PICTURE: steve ellis
won't be rushed back: Anthony Gardner is recovering from a hamstring injury. PICTURE: steve ellis

WEDNESDAY will decide today whether or not Anthony Gardner plays any part against his former club Crystal Palace tomorrow.

The centre half is stepping up his work after a hamstring injury. But the Owls, with Mark Beevers in his position, have won both their league games while he has been out, and beaten Fulham, and Dave Jones is not likely to rush him back before time.

The Owls manager said: “Anthony is running. It’s whether we throw him in. I’ll make that decision before we travel.”

Palace manager Dougie Freedman wanted Gardner to stay and offered him a new deal in the summer. But the defender felt his career was better suited by his Bosman move to Hillsborough - though he had no grumble with Palace and he liked Freedman.

Gardner was a Hull player at the time of the relegation scrap between Wednesday and Palace in 2010. He moved to Selhurst Park on loan the following August and signed a full contract a year later.

Tomorrow’s game will have been one for centre half’s diary but he was facing a fight to be fit for it as soon as he injured his hamstring at Derby in the first Championship game of the season.

The Owls have a score to settle after the relegation dogfight three seasons ago.

Wednesday needed to beat the Eagles in the last game of the season to stay up and send the London outfit down but drew 2-2 in front of a Hillsborough crowd of 37,000 and finished two points behind the side who were then managed by Paul Hart, against Wednesday’s Alan Irvine..

The two clubs’ managers and most of the players have changed since that day but fans will regard tomorrow’s clash as the renewal of an old rivalry.

The game will provoke a memory for Dave Jones as well: his Cardiff team put the Owls on the brink of the drop by beating them 3-2 in the penultimate game of the season.

Since those days, Palace have fought to keep their heads above water. They finished 20th two seasons ago, 17th last season, and are currently bottom after losing their first three league games for the first time in 39 years.