Owls hit by triple blow

SHEFFIELD Wednesday are taking a triple blow on the chin as they prepare to tackle Bristol Rovers at Hillsborough tomorrow.

Hopes of Neil Mellor being fit look like being dashed, Jon Otsemobor is not ready to return,and Lewis Buxton is expected to be out for four to six weeks.

But manager Alan Irvine expects Mellor to be back before Christmas.

"I don't think Mells will make it this weekend, though he's not ruled out at this stage. Even if he isn't available, we're very optimistic that he will be ready next week," he said

That would put the club's 12-goal top scorer in contention for a comeback at Exeter a week tomorrow.

Irvine admits that Mellor's absence has been a blow: "He was in great form; if he's out, you take goals out of your team."

The striker has had a sprained ankle but it has proved less serious than was first feared when he was carried off at Carlisle.

Otsemobor has already missed six games with a calf injury.

Buxton pulled a hamstring during his comeback at Swindon after sitting out three matches - leaving the club without a recognised senior right-back once again, and with left-back Daniel Jones favourite to land the role.

With the Owls' new owner, Milan Mandaric, set to be introduced to the crowd before the game, Irvine says: "I'm sure he'll get a fantastic reception. Our fans will be delighted to see him at the club.

"I would expect it to add to the occasion. If it means there's more optimism and confidence around the ground, that can transmit to the pitch.

"He'll get a tremendous welcome. Hopefully that will help to make it a great occasion, and hopefully the performance will follow."

Charlton's unbeaten record in November resulted in Phil Parkinson pipping Irvine for the League One Manager of the Month award.

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