GARY Megson hopes right back Lewis Buxton will be passed fit to play in Saturday’s FA Cup tie with Blackpool to ease his defensive crisis.
The Sheffield Wednesday manager will be forced to make wholesale alterations to his starting line-up for the trip to Bloomfield Road as they look to reach the fifth round of the competition for a second successive season.
Megson decided to make five changes in the midweek victory at Scunthorpe United, one of which was leaving Buxton out.
The defender, a popular figure in Wednesday’s dressing room, made his first-team comeback after eight weeks out on the sidelines in the 2-2 draw with Hartlepool United last weekend.
Of Buxton, Megson said: “His hamstring felt tight. I’m hoping that [his absence] is just a precaution. He’s been out for such a long time, I would expect it to feel tight. Last Saturday was the first 90 minutes he’s had for two months.”
Megson is sweating over the fitness of multiple members of his squad for the clash with the Seasiders, who are in seventh position in the Championship. One area of his team where his options are severely limited is left back. Daniel Jones sustained a calf problem at Scunthorpe while Julian Bennett is still recovering from a shoulder injury. The former Nottingham Forest player is poised to have an injection in his shoulder.
Reda Johnson, who can operate at centre half or left back, remains a major doubt to feature at Blackpool because he has yet to shake off a back problem which forced him off against Hartlepool, meaning Megson may have not choice but to field Buxton or Jon Otsemobor as a makeshift left back.
With Miguel Llera cup-tied, having played in Britain’s oldest cup competition for Brentford this term, Wednesday will have to alter the centre of the defence. Captain Rob Jones is unlikely to be risked due to an ankle knock. His absence could see Mark Beevers, who came on as a 38th minute replacement for Daniel Jones, recalled in the middle.
Megson also has a decision to make over who should be included on his bench. New recruit Mike Jones, signed from Bury earlier this month, is ineligible.
Wednesday have sold out their ticket allocation for the Steel City derby next month. Twelve thousand five hundred were snapped up this week.