Preview: Sheffield Wednesday vs. Shrewsbury Town
Having now reduced the gap to second-placed Ipswich Town to just one point, Sheffield Wednesday will aim to climb into the top two of the League One table on Saturday, when they welcome Shrewsbury Town to Hillsborough.
The Owls made it back-to-back league wins with a triumph away at Accrington Stanley last weekend, while their visitors sit 14th having failed to win any of their last five league games.
In their second consecutive season in League One, Sheffield Wednesday have enjoyed a strong first half to the campaign under the management of Darren Moore, currently occupying third spot in their bid to win promotion back to the second tier having won 11 of their 18 league games and amassed 37 points.
The Owls have impressed at both ends of the pitch, too, with only top-two sides Plymouth Argyle and Ipswich Town topping their tally of 34 goals scored while only Bolton Wanderers and Barnsley have allowed fewer than the 16 goals that they have shipped in their 18 outings.
Having remained consistently in pursuit of the top two throughout the season thus far, the South Yorkshire outfit hit a small setback in late October, being forced to settle for consecutive draws against Lincoln City and Bristol Rovers, but they have quickly bounced back with two more consecutive league wins, firstly beating Burton Albion 4-2 thanks to goals from Barry Bannan, Michael Smith, Mallik Wilks and Fisayo Dele-Bashiru.
Their league pursuits were then briefly put on hold as two cup games came consecutively, and Moore’s men firstly advanced in the FA Cup with a beating of Morecambe before only losing away at Southampton in the EFL Cup third round on a penalty shootout, but they were then able to return to third-tier action with another triumph last Saturday.
A first-half Alex Mighten goal was the difference between the sides in a trip to Accrington Stanley, and with both Plymouth and Ipswich drawing their games that weekend, the Owls have quickly cut the gap and now sit just a point outside the top two, and they will be keen to put another victory on the board at the weekend to stand a chance of climbing into the automatic promotion places if the latter slip up again.
They take on a Shrewsbury Town side who arrive at Hillsborough in a tough patch of form and will aim to return to winning ways at the weekend.
Steve Cotterill’s side made a relatively pleasing start to the league campaign by their own standards, putting six wins and 21 points on the board in their first 13 outings, but they have since gone five third-tier games without adding to that tally of victories.
That tough spell has certainly coincided with an unenviable run of fixtures for the Shrews, as they firstly suffered narrow defeats to Charlton Athletic and league-leaders Plymouth, before forcing a commendable 1-1 draw away at Portsmouth and triumphing away at York City in the FA Cup first round.
On the back of that victory, the Shropshire outfit set out to turn their league form around, but they have been unable to return to winning ways, firstly taking a point from a 1-1 draw at home to Oxford United thanks to Matthew Pennington’s second-half equaliser, before falling to a 1-0 defeat at home to Barnsley last weekend with Adam Phillips’s 10th-minute opener being the only difference between the sides.
While their recent losses have been far from embarrassing given the tough opposition, Cotterill’s men have quickly slid down the division as a result of only managing to collect two points in the last five games, and now sitting 14th in League One, they face another particularly tough test in their bid to return to winning ways and kickstart a climb back up the table.
Sheffield Wednesday League One form:
Sheffield Wednesday form (all competitions):
Shrewsbury Town League One form:
Shrewsbury Town form (all competitions):
We say: Sheffield Wednesday 3-1 Shrewsbury Town
Sheffield Wednesday boast the far stronger squad and will be keen to keep building momentum with another triumph on Saturday.
Arriving in a tough run of form, we do not see the Shrews springing any surprises and instead anticipate a dominant victory for Moore’s men at Hillsborough.