Sheffield Wednesday: Owls look to cure travel sickness

Miguel Llera will line up against his old club on Saturday.
Miguel Llera will line up against his old club on Saturday.
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What Sheffield Wednesday would give for a poor performance at Blackpool this weekend and three points.

In eight Championship matches on the road this season, Dave Jones charges have picked up a meagre five points from a possible 24 on offer. That statistic, though, doesn’t tell the whole story.

The Owls went ahead in four of their away-days; Queens Park Rangers, Leeds United, Middlesbrough and Brighton and Hove Albion. They also played well at Bolton Wanderers and in the final half an hour of their draw at South Yorkshire rivals Barnsley. Encouraging displays and situations are simply not translating into points.

While Wednesday were unlucky to lose at QPR on the opening day of the campaign, Jones’ men have suffered heavy defeats at Birmingham City and Derby County this term. They were also knocked out of the Capital One Cup by Rotherham United at the start of August.

The Owls hopes of climbing out of the Championship relegation zone look remote unless they can arrest their away form. Only Barnsley and Wednesday have failed to win away in the second-tier of English football.

You have to go back to April for the last time the Owls triumphed on their travels. It took a last minute strike from Chris Maguire to complete a come-from-behind 2-1 victory at Millwall. Including the Rotherham tie, 12 matches have passed since Wednesday, lying 22nd in the standings, last emerged victorious away from Hillsborough.

With Kamil Zayatte ruled out for eight to 10 weeks because of an ankle injury, Jones is expected to keep faith with Miguel Llera and Roger Johnson at the heart of their rearguard when they head to Bloomfield Road. It will be the third time Llera has faced the Seasiders since joining Wednesday on a permanent basis in January 2012. The Spanish defender struggled to hold down a regular first-team place at Blackpool.

“I didn’t have too much luck there [Blackpool],” admitted Llera.

Jones troops are still searching for their first clean sheet of the 2013/14 season. But they can take heart from the fact that Blackpool, managed by Paul Ince, slipped up in their last home fixture, losing 3-2 to Ipswich Town.

Former Wednesday loanee Steve Howard has left Hartlepool United by mutual consent. The 37-year-old striker, who notched one goal in eight outings for Wednesday last term, has not played for Pool since September. Howard’s contract was due to run out at the end of the season.