SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY: Owls four launch debut challenge

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FOUR Wednesday players are in contention for debuts at Brighton tonight.

Deadline-day signings Jay Bothroyd and Martin Taylor are strong contenders after being signed on the eve of the last game at Crystal Palace and had a fortnight to settle in since then.

Injury problems have also thrust full backs Joe Mattock and Kieran Lee to the fore, with doubts about Lewis Buxton (hamstring) and Reda Johnson (ankle).

Daniel Jones stood in at left back for Johnson for the last two games but boss Dave Jones has confirmed that Lee and Mattock are among his options. Mattock is recognised mostly as a left back but is capable of playing on the right.

The manager said of striker Bothroyd and centre half Taylor: “They’re two experienced players, and they’ve shown it in training. It will help us. Everybody’s done well. But it doesn’t mean people can’t be left out. Senior players are important because they’re battle hardened.”

Jones said there was a “slight doubt” about Buxton. “Reda is still feeling his ankle and has had an injection. We’ll have to check him out again.”

Anthony Gardner is on the verge of a comeback after his hamstring injury but Jones said: “It’s whether we bring him in for this one or for next Wednesday against Huddersfield.”

Jones has once again refused to deny interest in Ross Barkley - as speculation about a Hillsborough loan move for the 18-year-old increases, and with the Owls in the market for another midfield player.