Oct 3, 2015 at 3pm UK at ​Hillsborough
Sheff WedsSheffield Wednesday
3-1
PrestonPreston North End
Lee (45'), Pudil (55'), McGugan (96')
FT(HT: 1-0)
Browne (76')
Johnson (87')

Preview: Sheffield Wednesday vs. Preston North End

Sports Mole previews the Championship clash between Sheffield Wednesday and Preston North End.

Sheffield Wednesday could move within reach of a playoff place when they meet Preston North End in the Championship.

However, Simon Grayson's side travel to Hillsborough in need of a win after slipping into the bottom three.


Sheffield Wednesday

Carlos Carvalhal manager of Sheffield Wednesday looks on during the pre season friendly match between Ilkeston and Sheffield Wednesday at the New Manor Ground on July 15, 2015© Getty Images

Sheffield Wednesday have hit form in recent weeks and a further victory this weekend could propel Carlos Carvalhal's side into the top six.

A promising run in the Capital One Cup may have helped the Owls build confidence, and Carvalhal was quick to praise his team for sticking to their gameplan after beating Newcastle United at St James' Park.

However, their narrow win over struggling Brentford may have prompted the Wednesday coach to consider delving into the transfer market for more attacking options.

Having been linked with a move for Danny Graham recently, the Owls were reported to have enquired about a possible loan deal for Manchester United youngster Jesse Lingard.

At the back, Wednesday appear to be improving, having kept two clean sheets in their last four matches – at Newcastle and in the goalless draw against Bolton Wanderers.

However, the impending visit of Hull City to Hillsborough and a trip Queens Park Rangers later this month could put that defence under greater strain.

Recent form: DLLDWW
Recent form (all competitions): LLDWWW


Preston North End

Manager Simon Grayson of Preston North End applauds the fans after the FA Cup Fifth round match between Preston North End and Manchester United at Deepdale on February 16, 2015© Getty Images

On paper, Preston's striking options, which included last season's top scorer Joe Garner and playoff hero Jermaine Beckford, hinted at a season of great potential for the Lancashire outfit.

The club then bolstered their forward options during the close-season by taking Eoin Doyle from Cardiff City and Stevie May from Wednesday.

However, goals have been hard to come by so far, with North End having netted just six in the league this term - the worst record of any team in the division.

Admittedly, the loss of Beckford, who finished their last campaign on fire, will not have helped their cause. However, Garner's slump has also been a factor, with the 27-year-old yet to find the back of the net in the Championship.

Worse still, the Lilywhites have taken only two points from their last six games, with only MK Dons in a poorer run of form.

However, Preston were only moments away from beating Wolverhampton Wanderers with nine men last weekend before Kevin McDonald's stoppage-time equaliser snatched a point for the West Midlands outfit.

They can also point to the form of winger Daniel Johnson, who has scored four goals this season, including in his last two games against Brentford and Wolves.

Recent form: LLLDLD
Recent form (all competitions): LLDLDD


Team News

Goal scorer Joe Garner of Preston celebrates at the final whistle during the Sky Bet League One match between Leyton Orient and Preston North End at The Matchroom Stadium on November 16, 2013© Getty Images

Garner's red card against Wolves should mean that summer signings Doyle and May lead the attack for the Lilywhites, having played as part of a front three recently.

North End's top scorer Johnson is expected to continue on the wing, but Bailey Wright's dismissal last weekend means that he will miss the trip to the Steel City.

However, Adam Reach should feature for the visitors after making his debut last weekend.

Meanwhile, Jeremy Helan starts a suspension following his sending-off in Wednesday's victory over Brentford.

While Atdhe Nuhiu is expected to continue up front for the hosts, Lucas Joao may be forced to settle for a place on the substitutes' bench, despite scoring the winner against the Bees.

Sheffield Wednesday possible starting lineup:
Westwood, Turner, Lees, Hutchinson, Matias, Nuhiu, Lee, Hunt, Wallace, Pudil, Bannan

Preston North End possible starting lineup:
Pickford; Woods, Vermijl, Clarke, Cunningham; Reach, Welsh, Browne, Johnson; May, Doyle


Head To Head

Wednesday's record against Preston is mixed, having lost 40 and won 39 of the 102 encounters between the clubs.

However, the Owls have had the better of recent meetings with North End, losing only one of the last seven. That defeat came courtesy of goals from Neil Mellor and Jon Parkin in a 2-0 triumph in October 2009.

Wednesday also won the last fixture between the sides back in March 2012 when the teams were playing in League One, with Gary Madine netting twice for the Yorkshiremen.


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We say: Sheff Wed 2-1 Preston

While Doyle and ex-Wednesday forward May will have a point to prove after their summer transfers, the Owls' recent form, and Preston's lack of goals, suggests that the hosts might have too much for the Lilywhites on this occasion.


Blackburn's Jordan Rhodes celebrates after scoring his team's second goal of the game during the Sky Bet Championship match between Queens Park Rangers and Blackburn Rangers at Loftus Road on September 16, 2015
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Leeds UnitedLeeds96211751220
2Wolverhampton WanderersWolves9621159620
3Cardiff CityCardiff9621148620
4Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd9603128418
5Preston North EndPreston944193616
6Middlesbrough9432116515
7Ipswich TownIpswich85031411315
8Bristol City93511510514
9Aston Villa93421210213
10Sheffield WednesdaySheff Weds93421211113
11Queens Park RangersQPR93331212012
12Nottingham ForestNott'm Forest94051215-312
13Norwich CityNorwich9333812-412
14Fulham925298111
15Derby CountyDerby83231212011
16Millwall9243119210
17Hull City92341516-19
18Reading823378-19
19Burton Albion9234615-99
20Brentford91441012-27
21Barnsley8215913-47
22Sunderland9135814-66
23Birmingham CityBirmingham9126513-85
24Bolton WanderersBolton9027419-152
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