Sheffield Wednesday will be roared on by their biggest crowd of the season when they entertain Middlesbrough in their final Championship fixture.
Club officials expect more than 30,000 fans to pack into Hillsborough this Saturday as Dave Jones troops aim to stave off the threat of relegation.
Demand has been high for tickets in the home areas and the attendance is set to top the five figure turn-out for the Owls 2-1 derby victory over fellow strugglers Barnsley last month. Over 2,500 Wednesday supporters snapped up tickets between Saturday night and yesterday morning.
It is unlikely, though, the gate will surpass the 38,082 who witnessed Wednesday defeating Wycombe Wanderers 2-0 in their own backyard a year ago, a result which guaranteed they finished ahead of arch rivals Sheffield United and clinched the second automatic promotion berth in League One.
Nearly 5,000 fans backed the team at Peterborough United last weekend as they slipped to a 1-0 defeat following a peach of a free kick from former Barnsley midfielder Grant McCann. The Owls would have been safe had they picked up a point at London Road. Now the club are urging supporters to turn out in their numbers against mid-table Middlesbrough, who have won just twice in their last 11 outings.
A statement on the club’s official website read: “The support this season has been nothing short of overwhelming. One last push is required in a bid to help the Owls over the line.”
Despite sitting precariously above the drop zone, Wednesday are second only to Brighton and Hove Albion in the average home attendance table in the division.
Lewis Buxton, meanwhile, has thanked Wednesday’s fans for voting him the club’s Player of the Year. The dependable right-back, in his fifth season at the South Yorkshire outfit, beat off competiton from Chris Kirkland, Anthony Gardner and Michail Antonio to land the prize, securing 35 per cent of the vote.
The 29-year-old, who has made 43 appearances this term, said: “When it’s the fans that have voted for you, it always means a lot. It’s been a difficult season but the supporters have always come in their numbers and really spurred us on. We have needed them.
“It’s a shame the season hasn’t gone as well as we had wanted but hopefully we can finish the season on a high with a win on Saturday and stay in the Championship.”
*Wednesday’s Under-21s side drew 1-1 with Barnsley yesterday. Caolan Lavery cancelled out Danny Rose’s first-half penalty.