Sheffield Wednesday: Fans boost Owls cause

Reda Johnson will have a fitness check before Dave Jones selects his side to face Peterborough
Reda Johnson will have a fitness check before Dave Jones selects his side to face Peterborough
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Sheffield Wednesday will be boosted by a following of around 5,000 at Peterborough though the crunch clash is being televised live.

The news will give the team’s high spirits an extra lift as they seek the win that would guarantee Championship survival.

Players value the backing that they have received from supporters at home and away.

Saturday’s game kicks off at 5.20pm and is being screened by Sky but last night the Owls were close to selling out their allocation of tickets.

The match has also been made all-ticket.

Chris Kirkland said that supporters’ enthusiasm inspires the team.

“We want to stay up for the fans. Our support is just incredible,” he said

“We sell out most of our away allocations and we can get get 24,000 to 25,000 at home.

“It makes such a difference when you see 3,000 to 5,000 away from home. It gives the players a big lift. It is joy to watch when you run on to the field and see that sort of backing.

“They never stop singing. They are magnificent and we want to retain our Championship status for them. They pay their money and support us in great numbers.”

Peterborough expect a crowd of around 13,000; the current capacity is around 14,000.

Their league average is 7,955, the lowest in the division, and their highest this season for a Championship match is 11,070, for the visit of Leicester in February.

Although Wednesday are one step from survival, Peterborough are desperate for points: they are fourth from bottom, four points behind the Owls and ahead of Wolves and Barnsley only on goal difference,

Posh’s final game will be away to fifth-placed Crystal Palace.

Peterborough defender Gabriel Zakuani regards the two remaining games as the biggest in his five seasons at London Road and he says that his club need their fans more than ever.

“The fans can be that 12th man,” he said.

“We all know what we have to do. Looking back at the season, we would have definitely taken this scenario, and we have to finish the job off.

“You want destiny in your own hands and we have put ourselves in that position.”

Peterborough lost 16 of their first 21 games but recently were unbeaten in 10, before they lost 3-1 at Derby last Saturday.

Owls players and manager Dave Jones are confident of making sure of staying up.

Safety will be assured if Wolves and Barnsley both lose at home in earlier kick-offs on Saturday against Burnley and Hull respectively.

Jones’ team selection will be influenced by fitness updates on Jermaine Johnson - who is almost certain to miss out - and Reda Johnson.

Reda keeps being troubled by a sore ankle and has missed three of the last four games.

The Owls hope to have him fit, but left back replacement Danny Pugh did a sterling defensive job in last Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Ipswich.

Wednesday’s Fun in the Park event, which attracted more than 10,000 to Hillsborough Park last year, will be held on Sunday, June 30, and once again will be free of charge.