REDA Johnson is set to return for the Owls at MK Dons tonight - as the club gather together their strength for the promotion campaign without Ben Marshall but with the addition of loan signing John Bostock.
Left-back Johnson is fit after missing two games with a back injury and is being challenged by Gary Megson to rediscover top form.
Faint hopes of landing Marshall have been dashed, with Stoke said to have agreed a £750,000 fee with Leicester for the winger who was huge hit in his Owls loan spell.
But Megson is hoping for big things from midfielder Bostock, the 20-year-old who cost Spurs £700,000 from Crystal Palace.
It is unlikely that Bostock will be plunged into the starting line-up tonight, but Johnson’s defensive power and ability at attacking set-pieces may well earn him a place.
Megson said: “When Reda first went in (at left-back) he looked terrific; in his last two games he wasn’t at the standards he’d set. They would be acceptable for a lot a clubs but not what I would expect of Reda.
“We need him to get straight back into it if he’s selected and get back to the standards he showed. When he’s at his best, there’s no-one better at this level.”
Johnson’s return is timely with Daniel Jones (calf) ruled out for up to six weeks and Julian Bennett (neck) for two, though Mark Beevers has done a good job as emergency left-back.
Megson faces a choice between Rob Jones and Miguel Llera, who was cup-tied, at centre-half and will revert to a more usual side after making seven changes at Blackpool.
Potteries sources suggest that agreement between Stoke and Leicester has been agreed over Marshall.
Megson indicated that he was not expecting any more Hillsborough arrivals before today’s deadline.
But he remains interested in signing Swansea midfielder Ferrie Bodde after the window for emergency loans opens in seven days.
He said: “I need to speak to Brendan Rodgers [Swans boss] about it. Ferrie has been back for only two reserve games. He’s got another one this week.”
The Owls’ home game against Preston on March 31 will kick off at 12.45pm istead of 3pm after being chosen for live coverage by Sky TV