OWLS boss Gary Megson believes that, despite disruption to the regular line-up, his players are fully capable of moving up to second place in League One tomorrow.
A position among the automatic promotion spots is guaranteed if the Owls beat Leyton Orient at Hillsborough - at least for the time being.
They are two points behind second side Huddersfield, who play away to leaders Charlton on Monday.
Megson sees the upcoming fixtures as a chance for the Owls to take advantage, for a win is certain to mean them gaining ground on one or both of the top two.
Although Wednesday have lost Gary Madine and Lewis Buxton, Megson points out that they played no part in an impressive second-half performance by the team as they pulled off a 2-1 victory at Tranmere last Saturday.
“The players we have are well capable,” he says.
“There’s a momentum about the place, a buzz on the training ground.
“Regardless of who wears the shirts on Saturday, it’s got to be the same kind of performance that we gave in the second half at Tranmere.
“This is our biggest game for a long, long time. The teams above us play each on Monday - and they can’t both win.”
Confident that the fans will keep up their great backing of the team, he says: “We need as many Wednesdayites as possible to turn up for this game.
“We need as much noise as we can get. This is huge game for us.
“It’s a chance for us to get three points, while the two above us can’t both get three points. We have had our problems to overcome. But they existed in the second half at Tranmere, and it was probably our best 45 minutes of the season. The players did ever so well.
“That took the standard up, and we have to attain that standard more often than not. It’s what management is all about - raising the bar all the time.”
Megson is giving nothing away over which one of his six loan players will not figure in tomorrow’s game. Only five loan men are permitted in the 16.
He says: “I have spoken to all six and told them that at some point one of them isn’t going to be involved. That’s because of the rules.
“We shouldn’t be in this position [of having to rely on so many loan players]. What’s happened to the club over the last few years has dictated the position we’re in.”
With the loan window now closed, and no further business possible until January, Megson has had to cover for the injuries to Madine and Buxton, is without Rob Jones because of suspension tomorrow, and is conscious that Danny Batth, Clinton Morrison and Giles Coke are one booking away from a one-match ban.
Miguel Llera is expected to replace Jones at centre-half against Leyton Orient. “He’ll be involved because of Rob’s suspension,” said Megson, who’s also pleased to have landed right-back James Tavernier and forward Sanchez Watt until January.
He added: “We haven’t discussed it with the three lads about doing anything permanent; on the other hand, we haven’t discussed NOT doing anything permanent.
“We’ll see how things go and make decisions when the loans are coming towards an end - but they do play for other clubs and those clubs dictate what happens.”
Wednesday have won their last four home league and cup games against the O’s. The overall record of matches between the clubs, home and away, is 17 wins for Wednesday, nine for Leyton Orient and 10 draws.
One to watch
Former Wednesday loan midfield player Jimmy Smith could be inspired by a return to Hillsborough. The ex-Chelsea 24-year-old missed last year’s 1-0 defeat at the stadium but played an important part in a 4-0 home win against the Owls in January.