VIDEO: Struggling Sheffield Wednesday look to claim bragging derby rights

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It is not in Jos Luhukay’s nature to sugar-coat things.

The Dutchman calls it like he sees it.

Owls chief Jos Luhukay

Owls chief Jos Luhukay

And the facts are Wednesday, who have been decimated by injuries this season, have recorded just two victories in their last 21 Championship matches.

The Owls sit in 18th position heading into the final two months of the campaign and Luhukay admits they are where they deserve to be.

He stressed: “The position in the league does not lie. We must work 100 per cent in every game to get in a better position.”

Luhukay is determined to rectify their woeful run of form, starting at Leeds United tomorrow.

Luhukay knows Wednesday's position is not good enough

Luhukay knows Wednesday's position is not good enough

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“We have spoken with each other; we know what we have done, what we must do, and what we can do better,” he said. “There’s no problem with motivation.”

After a strong start to the season, Leeds’ results have also tailed off. The Whites have registered only one victory since Boxing Day, prompting owner Andrea Radrizzani to sack Thomas Christiansen on February 4.

Less than 48 hours later, Paul Heckingbottom was named as Leeds’ new manager on an 18-month contract. Heckingbottom, a member of Wednesday’s promotion-winning team in 2005, has endured a tough start to his reign, winning just one of his opening seven fixtures.

Luhukay on the touchline at Hillsborough

Luhukay on the touchline at Hillsborough

Luhukay said: “I think they are a very strong team. They have unbelievable offensive quality.

“All four strikers are very effective. We have a lot of work on Saturday to stop their quality.

“Leeds, in the last weeks, have also not had good results, so they also will look for success. It will be an interesting game.”

Since becoming the Owls boss, Luhukay has already sampled two Yorkshire derbies. He led the Owls to away draws against Sheffield United and Barnsley.

“I think in a derby you must have the passion and a winning mentality to get a good result,” he said. “Both sets of fans will give 100 per cent support, so we must give everything we have.

“I think it will be a fantastic atmosphere in the stadium. Everyone is looking forward to it.

“We must go and enjoy it but we must also know that as a team we must play very well to get a positive result and that’s what we will try to do.”

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There is some cause for optimism ahead of Saturday’s crunch clash. Joost van Aken, Sam Hutchinson and Barry Bannan are in contention to be involved after recovering from their long-standing injury problems.

“Joost van Aken, Sam Hutchinson and Barry Bannan are training 100 per cent with the team,” said Luhukay, who has confirmed midfielder Sean Clare will miss the rest of the season with an ankle injury. “Sam and Joost have played with the Under-23s, they are in a very good shape.

“They have done a lot of work in the last week, so they are options for Saturday.

“They are 100 per cent and I am very happy to have options in my squad. I have three options for my squad, and maybe my first XI.”

As for Leeds, Heckingbottom will be without the services of captain Liam Cooper. The defender has failed to shrug off a dead leg he suffered in the defeat to table-topping Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Heckingbottom said: “Liam is still progressing, but slowly.

“That’s the nature and the extent of the impact in his leg which caused a big bleed so he’s still not got the mobility yet, so he’s going to be after the international break now.”

Cooper’s absence means Matthew Pennington is poised to partner Sweden international Pontus Jansson again at centre-back.

Andy Lonergan (neck) Luke Ayling (ankle), Tyler Roberts (shin), Conor Shaughnessy (ankle) and Kemar Roofe remain on the sidelines.

“When we initially had him (Roofey) assessed we had two scans, both slightly different,” said Heckingbottom.

“One was short term, one was longer term, it’s looking very much like the longer-term one with some tendon involved, but it’s progressing nicely, but it’s a slower job.”

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