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Season preview: Sheffield Wednesday

Season preview: Sheffield Wednesday
© PA Photos
Sports Mole peers ahead at what could be in store for Dave Jones's Sheffield Wednesday in the Championship this season.

With just three more days until the Championship season begins, Sports Mole looks ahead at what could be in store for Sheffield Wednesday in 2013-14.

In:

Jacques Maghoma (From Burton Albion, Free), Jeremy Helan (From Manchester City – Undisclosed) Atdhe Nuhiu (From Rapid Vienna)

Out:

Stephen Bywater (To Millwall, Free), Bastien Hery (To Rochdale, Free), Hayden White (To Bolton Wanderers, Free) , Julian Bennett (Released, July 1), Matthew Fletcher (Released), Harry Grant (Released), Nejc Pecnik (Released), Nicky Weaver (Released)

Last Season: 18th

Manager: Dave Jones

Three key players:


Chris Kirkland© PA Photos
Chris Kirkland - Now 32, Kirkland has been with Wednesday for a season and will be the number one again this campaign, as long as he is not attacked by a fan like last season against Leeds United (see picture ->). A man with a solitary England cap under his belt, Kirkland will need to have a solid season between the sticks and at least emulate his 11 clean sheets from last term. The defence in front of him was solid enough last season and if this remains and goals are found down the other end, Wednesday could finish higher than expected.


Sheffield Wednesday's Michail Antonio on December 2, 2012© PA Photos
Michail Antonio - Goals are certainly an area that needs addressing as only two sides - Millwall and Ipswich Town - scored less last season. Winger Antonio was on course for a double-figure haul but his season was cut short by a groin injury at Cardiff City in March. He still finished the campaign as the club's top scorer and will be looking to repeat that feat again. In some respects, Wednesday fans will be hoping that he does not and that instead a striker leads the scoring charts this time around.


Sheffield Wednesday's Jermaine Johnson celebrates scoring the equaliser against Blackburn Rovers on April 6, 2013© PA Photos
Jermaine Johnson - Another wideman, when Johnson and Antonio are fit and firing they make Wednesday a real threat racing forward. Johnson, from Jamaica, has now been at the club for six-and-a-half years and at 33 does not have too many years left outrunning the opposition. This year Owls fans will be hoping that he avoids injury and provides plenty from the wings as well as contributing goals to aid the cause.

First game: Queens Park Rangers (A), Complete fixture list

Sports Mole says: It was a nervy final day of the season back in May when the Owls still had a slim chance of being relegated back to League One straight away. They saw off Middlesbrough,though, to finish in 18th and guarantee Championship football for the upcoming season. Unfortunately for the Wednesday faithful, it looks as if Jones will have another arduous year ahead keeping the Yorkshire club in the second tier. Maghoma impressed for Burton last term but the step up to the Championship may prove too big, while frontman Nuhiu is bit of an unknown. Who knows, he could surprise everyone by scoring a shedload! Unless significant signings are made in the next month, it is likely to be another bottom-half scrap for the blue-and-white half of Sheffield this year.

Predicted finish: 20th

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Sheffield Wednesday's Leroy Lita scores from the penalty spot against Blackburn Rovers on April 6, 2013
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