Sheffield Wednesday: Competition Sharp in Championship

Feeling blue: striker Billy Sharp in Nottingham Forest's away kit.
Feeling blue: striker Billy Sharp in Nottingham Forest's away kit.

DAVE Jones and Sean O’Driscoll have something in common as their teams prepatre to clash at the City Ground today.

The managers of Sheffield Wednesday and Nottingham Forest are both wary of making big changes though both want an upturn in results.

Forest have drawn eight of their 16 Championship games this season.

The Owls’ main problem is that they have lost too many - nine out of their 16.

But Jones insists that Wednesday are so close to getting it right that it would be unwise to disrupt his team too much.

“You don’t want drastic changes; it’s not as if we’re getting turned over; we’re in games for long spells,” said Jones, believing that a little more ruthlessness at both ends is the only thing lacking.

Ex-Doncaster boss O’Driscoll describes his team as one that needs to turn draws into wins.

He said: “if you tinker too much or change too much you can turn draws into losses, which is so easy in the Championship. We’re a team that can score and we feel we can do that at any point in a game.

“Conversely, we can concede at any moment. That simplifies it, but finding a solution isn’t that simple.

“We want to keep the fact that we can be bright and can play but we we’ve got to cherish a few clean sheets as well.”

Forest’s former Sheffield United and Doncaster striker, Billy Sharp, who is on loan from Southampton, relishes another chance to play against the Owls.

“It is always nice to play against them, as a Sheffield United fan. I have had some good times against them and some bad times as well,” he said.

“Hopefully I can rectify that with a goal or two, or even three, perhaps.”

Sharp is certain to be a target for Wednesday’s sell-out following of 4,300 fans.

“I do have good banter with the Wednesday fans,” he said. “They do give me stick but I have never had any real trouble, it is just friendly banter.”

Dave Jones said: “Forest have had some strange results and some really good ones.

“We have to go there full of confidence. There’s no reason why we can’t.

““Everywhere we go it’s a big challenge for these players and a big game, because of the division we’re in and the fans want to come in their droves to see us.”

Forest are 11th in the table and will start as favorites. But Sharp said: “It’s not going to be any easier because of Wednesday’s league position.

“We know their weaknesses, but we also know they are a strong, physical side. It’s going to be a scrap.”

Did you know? Forest’s only defeat in their last eight games was 4-1 against Millwall at the City Ground on November 3. That came a week after they had won 4-1 at Barnsley.