Sheffield Wednesday: Three battles where the match against Luton Town could be won or lost
League One champions Luton Town arrive at Hillsborough in the midst of a tough start to life in the Championship with one point to their name after three games.
Wednesday, hoping to avenge their disappointing defeat at ten-man Millwall on Saturday, are favourites to win the clash, with caretaker manager Lee Bullen hoping another win can edge him closer to the permanent position.
But where will the game be won and lost as the Hatters plot an upset? Let’s take a look at three key battles to be played out on the pitch.
Barry Bannan vs Jacob Butterfield
A figure of fun among some sections of the Wednesday support, Jacob Butterfield’s loan spell at Hillsborough two seasons ago was largely unsuccessful.
Man of the match for Luton in their 2-1 defeat to promotion-chasing West Brom at the weekend, the midfielder has a point to prove and will hope to get the better of Bannan. Whoever creates the most from midfield and wrestles control of the game’s tempo may well end up on the winning side.
Liam Palmer vs Harry Cornick
Luton’s Cornick is a handful on his day. The 24-year-old is known for devilish inside runs from the right wing and got his Championship goalscoring tally underway on Saturday with a well-taken finish.
His manager has singled him out as a player he intends to offer huge opportunity to this season. If he is to operate on the right again, Palmer will need to be watchful, as will Cornick himself as Palmer chooses his moments to join the Owls attack.
Steven Fletcher vs Matty Pearson
Fletcher has lead the line in outstanding fashion this season and reiterated his love for the club last week. That positive mood should continue if he starts against Luton.
Often at his best when locked in a physical battle, Fletcher will get one against Yorkshire-born Pearson. The Scot’s knock-downs and movement are key to Wednesday’s fast-flowing attack.