After a disappointing end to a well-fought unbeaten run of four games, Wednesday were under a lot of pressure to bounce back against an Aston Villa side that has had one of the strongest squads in the league for nearly three years.
From all reports our victory was more than well earned, dominating the game and deserving of a clean-sheet that was sadly denied by a John McGinn screamer. The game once again showed off the Owls’ team mentality and versatility.
Jos has done an excellent job to bring some form after a difficult start, and the confidence this has brought may become important if Wednesday are to come out as victors against Friday night’s opponents.
One of the biggest derbies in the league, Wednesday will face a Leeds United side that has become one of the main talking points of this early season. Under Marcelo Bielsa, they have gone above and beyond expectations so far, reaching the top of the table while playing an exciting brand of attacking football.
The signing of Barry Douglas from newly-promoted Wolves has been a vital part of their ascent, however, Leeds will be without some important firepower due to various injuries. Patrick Bamford and Pablo Hernandez remain injured and it seems unlikely that top-scorer Kemar Roofe will be available.
Forestieri is once again available for selection after a prior three-match ban, while Thorniley and Hutchinson both returned to training earlier this week.
Lees, Hector, Pudil
Baker, Pelupessy, Bannan, Penney
Leeds will provide one of the most difficult tests for this Wednesday defence, and after the performance in the last game, it seems silly to alter that back line too much. As I’ve said before though we could see a variety of changes just to surprise the opposition, and it certainly wouldn’t be a shock to see Forestieri go straight into the starting line-up.
Dawson proved himself against Villa and seems to be slowly repaying the faith Jos has put in him, so he is the obvious first choice. Pelupessy and Matias have really come to form under Luhukay, though they will always have their doubters, both are playing integral roles in the starting line-up and as good as Onomah looks, he doesn’t do the dirty work that Joey happily seems to do.
We have an opportunity to take ourselves towards the top of the table against one of the best performing sides in the league; playing aggressively and taking the game to Leeds might throw them off guard but that’s a very risky game to play. It’s a hard game to predict, local derbies always are, but it’s difficult to write us off under current form.