Sheffield Wednesday: Owls face mean defence

Blackpool manager Paul Ince
Blackpool manager Paul Ince
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If Wednesday are to win at Bloomfield Road then they will have to do better than many of the teams whom Blackpool have faced.

Paul Ince’s side have kept seven clean sheets in their 16 league games.

The Seasiders used to be associated with an adventurous attacking style when Ian Holloway was manager. But this season they have established a reputation for being hard to beat.

Five of their seven wins have been 1-0s, and, without being prolific scorers, they have defended grittily in a successful formula that has taken them to fourth.

Ince has also overcome injury setbacks and benefited from the attacking talents of his son, Tom, Stephen Dobbie and Ricardo Fuller.

In all but one of Blackpool’s games where either side has scored, they have taken the lead. The exception was the last match, where they were behind before drawing 1-1 at Birmingham.

A rugged centre-back partnership has been formed between Kirk Broadfoot and Gary MacKenzie.

Injuries have meant Chris Basham, a central midfield player who was admired by Gary Megson, playing at right-back.

At left-back, Neil Bishop, a central midfielder signed from Notts County, has been put to use, with Jack Robinson serving a four-match ban.

Ince is without captain Barry Ferguson, a long-term absentee, and, with no fit substitutue keeper, has had goalkeeping coach Tony Warner coming out of retirement to be on the bench.

Defender Craig Cathcart is another on the injured list.

But Ince’s team includes former Wednesday loan midfield player Isaiah Osbourne.

On-loan Aston Villa forward Nathan Delfouneso is challenging for a recall after being out for six weeks and he scored two in a reserve game against Blackburn.

He said: “It’s been a frustrating period for me as I’ve been out injured. I was just desperate to get back on the pitch.

“I always have confidence in my ability. I believe that if picked I can go and do a job. Obviously injury hasn’t really helped me, but I’m just desperate and eager to get that opportunity to play in the first team sooner rather than later.

“The lads have done great this season. We work from the first minute to the last minute.

“The boys all deserve huge credit. No-one gave us a chance at the start of the season.”

He added: “Hopefully I can get myself back into the team. I’m glad to have got two (for the reserves). I needed that.”