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Sheffield Wednesday: Owls bid to top attendance table

International duty: Rhys McCabe has been away in Greece

International duty: Rhys McCabe has been away in Greece

  • by Paul Thompson Sheffield Wednesday
 

Wednesday are bidding to step up a challenge for top spot in the Championship attendance table as they face Derby at Hillsborough on Saturday.

They have moved up to second, aided by the division’s biggest crowd of the day last Saturday, for the visit of Brighton.

A total of 22,044 fans saw the Owls win 3-1, and that figure looks sure to be beaten for the Derby game.

The Rams have already sold more than 2,000 tickets for the upper West Stand, which holds around 4,000 places.

Wednesday have some way to go if they are to finish the season ahead of current leaders Brighton in the attendance stakes.

The Seagulls lead with 25,579 while Wednesday’s average is 23,185. Derby are close behind on 23,169.

Brighton are at home on Saturday, against Hull, but the match is being televised and kicks off at 5.20pm.

The Owls will be hoping that their improved form boosts attendances after their sticky patch earlier in the season caused a slight decline.

They face a Derby side who thrashed Huddersfield 3-0 at home last Saturday, in front of a crowd of 21,561.

While Wednesday have had Rhys McCabe away with Scotland Under 21s, for yesterday’s away game against Greece, the Rams’ focus has been on an England Under 21 appearance for midfielder Will Hughes, who is only 17.

He played as a sub in a 4-0 win against Sweden at Walsall.

Hughes made his England debut in November when he came off the bench against Northern Ireland.

As he gets set to face the Owls on Saturday, he believes that international experience is helping his career.

He said: “I enjoyed every single minute and it was nice to get the win. It was a friendly, so everyone was trying to make an impact and impress the manager, but at the same time we played well as a team and deserved the win.

“I thought I did okay and it was nice to get on the ball and be involved in the game. I played in a few positions so that’s all part of the learning process, but I really enjoyed the game and to get another win made it extra special as well.

“I’m still in the very early stages at international level but I’m learning all the time, especially as I am playing above my age-group by a few years. It’s been a great experience for me once again and I’m grateful to have had the opportunity.”

Former Wednesday target Connor Wickham scored one of the England goals.

The 19-year-old striker was wanted by the Owls on loan before Christmas but Sunderland elected to keep him with them.

Dave Jones has been pondering the loan market again, as it gets set to open tomorrow after the statutory seven-day break that follows the closure of a transfer window.

But the Owls’ need does not seem quite so urgent, with the team having won their last two games and scored five goals, and January arrival Leroy Lita having scored in each of his first two outings.

Jones also has a decision to make on Jeffrey Sarpong, the former Real Sociedad and Ajax player who has been on trial at Middlewood.

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