Owls eyeing home boost

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SHEFFIELD Wednesday will look to home advantage to sway their promotion prospects after they complete the first half of the season with tomorrow’s game at Preston.

The second half of the campaign will bring 13 home league games and 10 away.

Only leaders Charlton out of the top six will have the same beneficial split.

With the Owls unbeaten at Hillsborough and only twice having been held to a league draw, Gary Megson sees home form as a huge factor as promotion rivals face an emphasis on away fixtures.

“We wanted to be in and around the business end at the halfway stage, we also knew what the second half of the season would bring,” said the Owls manager.

“We have to make sure we do the right things on and off the field to give ourselves the opportunity of doing what everybody wants us to do.

“We’ll have 13 games at home and 10 away in the second half of the season.

“It will be a massive plus for us if we can go to Preston and get three points and then at the halfway stage we’re averaging two points a game with hopefully a good strong window, from Sheffield Wednesday’s point of view, and the knowledge that we’ve got 13 home games.

“We have a really good home record and hopefully it’s something we can keep up.”

The Owls will begin the home run against Tranmere on Monday (kick-off 3pm).

They face Preston with doubts about Nicky Weaver and Rob Jones, who have had back problems of different kinds.

Megson also hopes for breakthroughs in the attempts to re-sign Ben Marshall and Stephen Bywater during the January window after revealing that, though Stoke Tony Pulis has said to wants Marshall to stay at Hillsborough for the rest of the season, the issue has yet to be concluded.

If Weaver is passed fit then tomorrow he could come in for Richard O’Donnell and play his first senior game in four months.

“I didn’t think it was Richard’s finest 90 minutes at Walsall but he’s a young lad,” said Megson. “We had a senior goalkeeper playing 12 league games and it went very well for Stephen Bywyater.

“In that position I don’t think you tend to know what it’s all about until you’re 25 or 26.”