Sheffield Wednesday will be looking to continue their unbeaten run under interim manager Neil Thompson this evening as they embark on the FA Cup fourth round.
But they face an uphill task as his Owls squad head to Premier League outfit Everton having dumped League Two side Exeter City out in what was actually their last outing.
The south Yorkshiremen have seen two league games postponed due to a significant virus outbreak in the Hillsborough camp, but it has given them a chance to get some key players back from injury.
Similarly, the Toffees haven’t played in 12 days either, so it’ll be an interesting encounter up at Goodison Park tonight.
Here’s the Owls lineup we’re predicting as well as the latest team and injury news…
Veteran stopper Keiren Westwood had been nursing injury prior to the abrupt two-week break, but with the 36-year-old back in training, his experience could be vital in a cup tie like this, so he returns over Joe Wildsmith.
Chey Dunkley and Julian Borner are another two who are in line to return from a spell on the treatment table, though only one is likely to come into the side as Thompson continues with his reliable back-three.
The 28-year-old English colossus could slot in alongside the versatile Liam Shaw and former skipper Tom Lees, whilst Adam Reach and Moses Odubajo are named as the wing-backs.
Both Barry Bannan and Joey Pelupessy will surely continue their partnership in the middle but there’s a decision to be made over the third man in the engine-room, especially as Massimo Luongo returns from a lengthy lay-off.
Hearing some good news on the injury front for #SWFC.
Massimo Luongo, Julian Börner and Josh Windass have all taken part in full training this week. Everton will probably come too soon for Luongo but he is on the mend from his knee injury. @LiveSwfc pic.twitter.com/HOeNDbwk42
— Dom Howson (@domhowson) January 20, 2021
He’s unlikely to be risked here tonight, nor is Josh Windass, so we may well see Chelsea loanee Izzy Brown gifted a rare opportunity. He’ll surely be desperate to make a statement and there will be no place better to do it than against Everton.
Whilst we could see fellow loan ace Jack Marriott feature for the first time since early November. It would be the 26-year-old’s first start since October as he returned to Derby County for rehabilitation over a long-term calf problem.
He has impressed in training according to Thompson, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him partner Callum Paterson, who bagged the winner at Exeter.
That means there is no place for Jordan Rhodes of Elias Kachunga whilst academy trio Ryan Galvin, Alex Hunt and Ciaran Brennan are all axed from the starting XI in a total of five changes.
AND in other news, 31 y/o “enforcer” could be a game-changing addition for Sheffield Wednesday…