Sheffield Wednesday: Seyi can cause headache

Seyi Olofinjana is back in training after a knee injury
Seyi Olofinjana is back in training after a knee injury
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Seyi Olofinjana is back in training and challenging for a return to the Owls squad to face Ipswich at Hillsborough tomorrow.

Having the on-loan midfield powerhouse available will create a selection headache for Dave Jones.

The rules permit only five loan players to be named in a match 18, and the Owls manager used his other five at Blackpool on Tuesday.

Danny Pugh, Stuart Holden, Jeremy Helan and Steve Howard all started, and Leroy Lita was on the bench.

Olofinjana missed the Leeds and Blackpool games owing to a knee injury but Wednesday have won the three matches in which he has figured so far, against Barnsley, Blackburn and Millwall.

Giles Coke’s nagging foot problem could have a bearing on whether Olofinjana comes into central midfield.

Jones confirmed: “Seyi has got a chance; he’s training.

“Gary Madine is back in training as well, which is a bonus. We’ll see what he’s like for Saturday - it might be a couple of days too soon for him. We’ll assess that in training.”

Madine has not played since the draw at Bristol City on Easter Monday, after picking up a hamstring injury.

Jones will make checks on Jermaine Johnson (hamstring) and Reda Johnson (ankle) before finalising his side.

If Reda is fit then it could be Pugh, his replacement at left back, who is the odd one out among the loan players this time.

Stuart Holden looks likely to start again in midfield in what could be his final appearance, with his one-month loan deal ending next week.

The state of JJ’s fitness will have a crucial bearing on the strike force.

Whether or he or Lita plays, Steve Howard may make his full home debut after impressing Jones at Blackpool; his only 90-minute stints so far have been at Bloomfield Road and Millwall.

Jones said that he will “leave it as late possible” in deciding on fitness issues: “That goes for four or five of them.”

He praised the club’s physio/medical staff and fitness coach Alex Armstrong for preventing and managing injuries as well as possible.

“Playing on a ‘beach’ (Blackpool’s pitch) doesn’t help; it saps players’ energy,” he said.

“The medical staff and Alex have done brilliantly. We have managed them (fitness issues) really well.”

He feels that the Owls will have to stay strong if they are to overcome an Ipswich side who have improved a lot under Mick McCarthy and since they were hammered 3-0 by Wednesday at Portman Road:

“They’re a team who want to be in the Premier League; they have been hanging around the bottom in this division for a few seasons; if you asked a lot of people, they’d be a bit surprised about that.

“The club have had a couple of changes of manager. They have good players. It’s a strong club.

“We expect nothing but a strong game and a difficult game, as we always would do.”

Wednesday and Ipswich have both sustained revivals since the early part of the season - with the Tractor boys now in 13th place, two points above the

Jones added: “Maybe its down to their turnover of players. There can be a lot of factors.

“The biggest thing that we needed to do here was to turn the performances into results; slowly but surely that started to happen. It was weird, as well, because there were a lot of games that we should never have lost. We seemed to have every bit of bad luck, or was it down to bad play by us?

”Since the turn of the year, we have got stronger and stronger. That’s got to carry on - it can’t stop now.”

Ipswich have won four of their last six games.