Sheffield Wednesday need to be up for a battle with Burton
Caretaker boss Lee Bullen has warned his Owls players to be prepared for a physical battle when they entertain Burton Albion on Monday.
The Brewers, managed by ex-Sheffield United chief Nigel Clough, are regarded as a big, strong side who are a handful from set pieces.
But Burton, operating on one of the smallest budgets in the division, currently sit 23rd in the Championship rankings but have picked up maximum points in their last two matches on the road.
“It will be a heck of a fight,” Bullen told The Star. “Burton are fighting for their lives.
“The game at Hillsborough last year was frustrating and hard-fought.
“We have to handle that and stand up to be counted.
“We know what to expect from Burton and we have to adapt and deal with that and find a way to win the game.
“We have to get the fans behind us. We need them to be patient and encouraging the boys on.”
Bullen, who took temporary charge of the team on Christmas Eve following Carlos Carvalhal’s departure, said he is in “constant contact” with chairman Dejphon Chansiri about his plans for the future.
“We are talking all the time,” he said. “I’m sure he’s looking at what’s out there to see what’s best for Sheffield Wednesday. It’s just a case of dealing with what’s in front of me at the moment. I’m here to do the job that he wants me to do as long as it takes him to make the decision.”
He plans to speak to the Thai businessman about the possibility of bringing in some defensive reinforcements. Wednesday are short of centre-half cover and were forced to field left-back Daniel Pudil there in Saturday’s loss at Brentford.
Tom Lees remains unavailable for selection due to injury while Joost van Aken faces a spell on the sidelines because of a hamstring problem he sustained in the Boxing Day triumph at Nottingham Forest. Bullen fears van Aken could be out of action for a minimum of a month.
The Scot said: “It’s coming into January and we will possibly have to look if we can do anything. We are stretched. We have [Frederico] Venancio, Sam Hutchinson and Pudil who can play at centre-half. We are asking a lot of Glenn Loovens to play three games in such a short space of time. Ideally you would want natural centre-halves.”