SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY: Owls dip into reserves of courage

Welcome back: Jeremy Helan is set to return for Wednesday at Hull tomorrow after serving his one-match suspension.    Picture: Steve ellis
Welcome back: Jeremy Helan is set to return for Wednesday at Hull tomorrow after serving his one-match suspension. Picture: Steve ellis

WEDNESDAY will draw inspiration from their recent improved run when they face Hull tomorrow.

Although the Owls have not scored for three games, lost at home to Burnley and were held by MK Dons in the FA Cup, Dave Jones insists there is no cause for doom and gloom as they face promotion hopefuls again.

His team have already shown with their gutsy display away to leaders Cardiff that they can give highly-placed opposition a hard game.

And Jones points out that the Owls have lost only once in their last six games, a sequence in which they have also kept five clean sheets and scored three wins.

He believes that his players have no reason to feel apprehensive about the task at the KC Stadium - and that Hull will be wary of them.

Said Jones: “Hull are having a right go at it (promotion). They’re at home, and because they’re playing us they’ll be expecting three points.

“We lost unfortunately to them, 1-0; there probably wasn’t much in the game.

“We have to be at our best, be as strong and as confident as we have been for the last month or so.”

The return of Jeremy Helan after his one-match ban will restore his pace on the left flank to the Owls’ attacking efforts.

Assuming the on-loan Manchester City youngster returns in midfield, it will mean a change in Michail Antonio’s position after he was moved there to replace Helan, with Chris Maguire coming in up front.

Antonio would either switch wings or go back to striker. Another option would be for Helan to come in at left back instead of Joe Mattock. But it seems more likely that Reda Johnson, having benefited from his break from Championship action, will get this spot.

Chris Kirkland, who looks set to take over from Stephen Bywater, and ex-Hull defender Anthony Gardner, likely to come in for Martin Taylor, can be expected to return after being rested for the MK Dons game.

With David Prutton suspended for two games, Jones will be pondering whether he can replace the midfielder’s experience - a quality that earned him his recall.

Said the manager: “We have to come up with a formula that combats their midfield, takes it on to the next step and tries to win it.”

Jones admits that the Owls have suffered something of a dip in their last couple of games, after beating Barnsley, Charlton and Bolton and drawing at Huddersfield.

“I think the expectation was that we were going to beat Burnley and get up close to that pack above us; all of a sudden it didn’t happen,” he said.

“We had that dip and the doom cloud comes out. If anybody had said we were going lose one in six, everybody would have said that’s not a bad tally, but because of the position we’re in, it becomes a bad thing.

“Everybody thought we had a divine right to beat MK Dons at home. We were confident that we should do that, if we played to the best of our ability. Unfortunately we didn’t play to the best of our ability. yet we’re still in the hat. We’re getting a second bite at it. I bet some of the teams who have gone out would like to have that.

“Every game we play is going to difficult. But we don’t lie down and roll over. There’s more about us than that.

“We’re not going to be fearful of going to Hull. We’ll be wary, but Stevie’s team will be just as wary because they know that on our day we are capable of doing just as much damage as anybody else.”

Teams and ref

HULL (possible): Jakupovic; Chester, Faye, Hobbs; Elmomahady, Mayler, Evans, Quinn, Brady; Koren, Aluko (3-5-2).

OWLS (possible): Kirkland; Buxton, Llera, Gardner, R Johnson; Lee, Lines, McCabe, Helan; Sidibe, Antonio (4-4-2).

Mark Haywood (W Yorks). Has not sent anybody off this season or last. In 2011-12 it was 102 yellow cards in 42 games, and this season 57 yellows in 23 games. His last match was Accrington 0 Dagenham 2 last Saturday.