Sheffield Wednesday: Jones bids to upset Brighton plans

Leroy Lita looks set for a home debut against Brighton
Leroy Lita looks set for a home debut against Brighton
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DAVE Jones and Gus Poyet last met when they bumped into each other during a break in Abu Dhabi, writes Paul Thompson.

The Wednesday manager learned then about the big plans that the Brighton boss has for his club’s future.

But Jones will hope that, in a playing sense, the Seagulls have not progressed since they comprehensively beat the Owls 3-0 at the Amex Stadium in September.

If Wednesday have already seen the best of Poyet’s outfit then their own improvement should lead to a more even contest at Hillsborough today, possibly an exciting one in view of Brighton’s penchant for attractive, attacking football.

Jones admits: “They’re a good side. They’ll be pushing for the play-offs no doubt. They’ve been building for a few years. I was with Gus not so long ago in Abu Dhabi; I had a chat with him; they’ve got lots of plans for the club.

“We went down there, we were in the game; once they scored they dictated it a bit.

“We’ll see how far we’ve come. They have dangerous players who have a way of playing; we have to nullify that and play to our strengths.”

Wednesday will also be fielding a much-changed side, compared to the one that was outplayed at the Amex.

The team that Friday night was Kirkland, Mattock, Taylor, Llera, Beevers, Antonio. McCabe, Semedo, J Johnson, Rodri and Bothroyd.

Taylor, Bothroyd and Mattock were making their debuts.

So there are likely to be at least seven changes today - though maybe only a couple from the team that won 2-1 at Charlton last Saturday, with Leroy Lita probably making a full debut, and an undisclosed injury problem for another player complicating matters.

Jones also reflected: “We tried to play a certain way down there and they were better at it than us. We could have seven or more changes this time. It just shows how we have changed and how we have been doing.”

Brighton are likely to give a debut to ex-England man Matthew Upson, after ending their search for a centre half on deadline day by taking him on loan from Stoke.

He said: “I’ve played at Sheffield Wednesday as a Birmingham player and I’ve been on the bench against them as an Arsenal player. It’s a big, traditional stadium, and it will be a tough away day.”

Upson and Albion left back Wayne Bridge have been team-mates with England and West Ham.

Did you know? Matthew Upson, Brighton’s loan centre half, cost £6m when West Ham signed him from Birmingham in January, 2007. He scored in Stoke’s 3-3 home draw with Southampton in December.