Three points for Sheffield Wednesday is all that will do at Derby County tomorrow afternoon. Anything less and the Owls will spend the summer looking ruefully towards a League One fixture card next season.
And so less than 24 hours from kick-off, attention has naturally turned to what side Darren Moore and his staff will name for what captain Barry Bannan has said is the biggest game in the club’s modern history.
Team selection was a fierce source of debate in the Owls’ lacklustre 0-0 draw with Nottingham Forest last weekend in which they were unable to truly control the game and failed to create enough clear-cut chances.
The Pride Park clash may well prove to be the final Wednesday outing for several players. If selected, it will certainly be the last time out in an Owls shirt for Liam Shaw who will join Celtic for a pre-contract fee at the end of his contract.
The 20-year-old, whose controversial move was confirmed earlier this year, built up a head of steam with a string of encouraging performances at the turn of the year but has started only one of the last 11 matches.
The lifelong Wednesdayite spoke of his desire to contribute to the club’s relegation scrap but with the Owls’ midfield having looked leggy on Saturday, it could be argued that his dynamism could offer something to the do-or-die Derby date.
Former Wednesday boss Tony Pulis spoke this week about Shaw’s attributes and his impending move north of the border.
“He can play in various positions, very versatile, he’s good in that respect,” Pulis told The Athletic. “Technically, for being such a big lad, he is a very good passer of the ball. Just a great person, with a fabulous attitude towards wanting to learn and work.”
“The big thing with him, more than anything, is obviously experience and games. I personally think that for what they’re paying it’s a great signing for the football club.
“It’s just where Celtic go now, whether they’ll go and strengthen in that area with the new manager, and what that might mean for Shaw’s opportunities next season. But he’s a very, very good lad and he’ll work hard for those opportunities.”