SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY: Owls looking for same again!

In the frame: Gary Madine will hope to be in the starting  line-up against Bristol City
In the frame: Gary Madine will hope to be in the starting line-up against Bristol City

WEDNESDAY are back where they were a month ago as they face a potential turning point in their season.

They had to beat fellow strugglers Ipswich and Peterborough in successive games and did so. Now they have the same kind of opportunity as they face the two teams who are currently just above them, Bristol City and Barnsley.

But the maximum benefit they can hope to gain from a six-point haul is a rise of three places, to 20th, and that also depends on other results going their way.

That is because of the gap that has opened above them. There are nine points between the next-to-bottom Owls and sixth-from-bottom Birmingham. It goes to show that making sure of safety could be a lengthy process.

The victories against Ipswich and Peterborough restored some steadiness - but the club have lost all six games since then.

They had the same winless run up to early October (including a Cup exit at Southampton) and ended it by drawing 3-3 at Burnley.

The overall target for the Owls has to be one of 35 points from the remaining 26 games, to reach the traditional safety target of

50, though sometimes it takes sljghtly more or less than that to stay up.

Wedndesday will come off the Hillsborough pitch tomorrow and look for the results of Ipswich v Millwall, Leicester v Barnsley and Peterborough v Middlesbrough.

Victory against Bristol City would take the Owls above the Robins; it would also lift them to fourth from bottom if Barnsley, two points above them, lose at Leicester.

Peterborough are at home to Middlesbrough knowing that a win would take them off the bottom if Wednesday or Bristol City lose.

The Owls somehow have to find a goalscoring formula and have netted only twice in those pointless last six games.

Dave Jones finds himself without Jay Bothroyd (ankle) and with a doubt about Mamady Sidibe (hamstring), on top of a pro

longed absence for Chris Maguire (knee).

In a depleted striker department, that puts the burden on Chris O’Grady, who started the 1-0 defeat at Cardiff, and Gary Madine, who went on for Sidibe and had a chance to put the Owls one up.

Madine, who also scored on his recall at Middlesbrough last month, will be keen for another opportunity.

Perhaps the equation will also include Rodri, who made a bright start to his Wednesday career but has not started a game since September 22, and seemingly has not done enough to impress a manager whose creed is that every day in training players have the chance to shine.

Tactics will be another consideration for Jones. He went with 4--5-1 at Cardiff; before that it was 4-4-1-1 and 4-1-4-1, so he has tended to have one out-and-out frontman rather than two; if it is the same on Saturday and Sidibe is not fit, then almost certainly it will be O’Grady, who was on the right flank at Cardiff, or Madine as the spearhead.