Darren Moore takes charge of his first game since being appointed as new Sheffield Wednesday boss later this evening and it’ll be the first real chance to see what the 46-year-old will bring to Hillsborough Stadium.
The Owls need results, and quickly, as they still remain in the relegation zone, some seven points adrift of safety, and tonight they’ll face the team above them in local rivals Rotherham United.
Moore’s preferred system is a 4-2-3-1, which is a formation that saw his Doncaster Rovers side firmly in the playoff hunt in League One, so it would be a surprise to see him differ from that in south Yorkshire.
So, here’s our predicted XI for the start of the new era at Wednesday…
There could be as many as four changes from the side that tasted a come-from-behind defeat to Luton Town on Saturday afternoon.
Veteran shot-stopper Keiren Westwood is still expected to be out through injury, so Joe Wildsmith should continue between the sticks, whilst Chey Dunkley and Liam Palmer return to a flat back-four with Osaze Urhoghide and Matt Penney the only two to remain.
It means 30-year-old veteran Tom Lees is axed from the starting XI, as is Julian Borner, who made his first start in eight outings.
A midfield trio of Sam Hutchinson, skipper Barry Bannan and Izzy Brown is likely to remain in very much the same manner it would in Neil Thompson’s 3-5-2 system, though it does mean wing duo Adam Reach and Kadeem Harris are deployed further up the pitch as out-and-out wingers.
With the change to one striker, both Callum Paterson and Josh Windass are at risk as a centre-forward like Jordan Rhodes may be more suited to the role.
Both of them have combined for 11 of the Owls’ 23 league goals but Moore’s comments on the long-serving Owls striker hints towards him being a starter.
He told reporters:
“There’s plenty more football left in Jordan. There’s a wonderful talent if we are looking at him as an isolated figure. He’s a goalscorer, and he knows where the back of the net is.”
Which is why he should be preferred to either of Windass or Paterson, on first glance.
There is no place for Jack Marriott, Elias Kachunga or Joey Pelupessy.
AND in other news, Darren Moore could be dealt instant Owls setback…