Sheffield Wednesday travel to Cardiff City tomorrow, a side they have enjoyed very little success against in recent years.
The Bluebirds have been a thorn in the side of the Owls, who have not tasted victory on any of their last nine trips to the Welsh capital.
Wednesday’s goalless curtain-raiser against Walsall in the Carabao Cup did little to whet the appetite for the return of league football, but anticipation for tomorrow’s clash was building long before the cup tie. The eyes of all Owls will be firmly fixed on the Cardiff City Stadium.
The visit to Wales represents the beginning of a new era for the South Yorkshire side, and Wednesday will be keen to kickstart their 2020/21 Championship campaign with a win.
It is possible that Wednesday boss Garry Monk will hand league debuts to some of his new recruits, and Izzy Brown in particular will be hoping for his after impressing against Walsall last week. Josh Windass featured as a substitute, and he could make his first league appearance since joining the Owls on a permanent basis. Fisayo Dele-Bashiru started against the Saddlers, but faces stern competition from more experienced midfielders to keep his place. Elias Kachunga, a new arrival from Yorkshire rivals Huddersfield Town, is also available and could be set to make his Wednesday debut. Chey Dunkley, however, is likely to miss the league opener as he continues to recover from a double leg break sustained in February. Osaze Urhoghide is also a doubt, but like Dunkley, has received praise for the progress made in his rehabilitation and is expected to return to action soon.
Cardiff’s influential playmaker Lee Tomlin has returned to full training after injury, but manager Neil Harris is yet to confirm whether he will play a part against Wednesday. Like Tomlin, midfielder Joe Ralls has seen his pre-season hampered by injury, but the 26-year-old has also made a return to training. The Bluebirds will definitely be without Nathaniel Mendez-Laing following the termination of his contract, although the details behind his shock exit have not yet been revealed.
FORGE SPORT’S PREDICTED XI
Although Kachunga did not spent much time playing as an out-and-out striker for Huddersfield, he can operate there. He flourished on the right of a 4-2-3-1 formation under former Terriers boss David Wagner, but with Wednesday having just one natural forward in the squad, he may be asked to play centrally. It would also allow Brown to drop back into an attacking midfield role, where he is more comfortable.
Academy product Matt Penney delivered a Man of the Match performance in last week’s Carabao Cup win, and it would be harsh of Monk to sideline the 22-year-old. Although competition is fierce in the right wing-back position, Kadeem Harris is one of the manager’s most trusted lieutenants and we think he will start against his former employers.
Dawson; Iorfa, Lees, Borner, Harris, Penney; Luongo, Bannan, Brown; Windass, Kachunga.
CAN I WATCH IT?
The match will kick off at 3pm, and despite not being selected for live broadcast by Sky Sports, will be available for supporters to watch. The club are making match passes, priced at £10, available for purchase. The passes will enable supporters to watch the game on the club’s iFollow streaming platform.