Sheffield Wednesday cross Yorkshire in the early afternoon on Saturday to take on fellow fallen giants Leeds United. The Owls haven't tasted top tier English football since their Premier League relegation season in 1999/00 and having spent time in League One are hoping to restore former glories this campaign. Leeds' Premiership relegation season was a few years later in 2003/04 but since, have similarly spent time in League One and are also looking to be back amongst the big boys.
The Elland Road outfit has had an eventful start to the season as new owner Massimo Cellino handed surprise appointment David Hockaday his P45 early and entrusting the Leeds hot seat to former Sturm Graz boss Darko Milanic. The Slovenian has made a slow start with a 2-0 loss at Brentford in his first game in charge, followed up with a goalless draw against Reading in his first game at Elland Road during the week.
The Whites currently lie in 12th spot in the Championship table and new boss Milanic will be hoping installed front men Souleymane Doukara and Mirco Antenucci will be on the scoresheet to register Leeds' first goals under his reign and more importantly first win. The strikers made up six summer signings from Italian clubs as owner Cellino splashed the cash in his home and known country. Doukara and Antenucci have been the preferred pairing since Milanic arrived, although with no goals and wins in those games experienced duo Steve Morison and Billy Sharp may be hoping for a recall from the bench. Pulling the strings from Midfield will be Italian Tommaso Bianchi, a summer signing from Sassuolo, and exciting English youngster Alex Mowatt. At the back two more Italians in Goalkeeper Marco Silvestri and Centre Back Giuseppe Bellusci, summer signings from Chievo and Catania respectively, will be looking for a second straight clean sheet alongside ever present Jason Pearce. Gaetano Berardi, another summer recruit from an Italian club (Sampdoria), should return to the squad after suspension.
Sheffield Wednesday come into the game on the back of 1-1 draw at home to Ipswich during the week and are just a few places and points ahead of Leeds in the current Championship table. Stuart Gray's men have started to establish themselves in English Football's second tier after a recent second stint in League One and will be hoping to push on from their promising start to the campaign. Strikers Stevie May, recently called up to the Scotland setup, and Austrian Atdhe Nuhiu are forming a formidable strike force and have been in the goals so far this campaign, Nuhiu netting in The Owls Hillsborough draw on Tuesday. Ever presents Liam Palmer, Chris Maguire and Jacques Maghoma should line up in a settled Wednesday midfield, with the latter providing three league assists thus far. Sheffield Wedneday are the Championship's joint best defence in these early stages, with summer signing Kieren Westwood keeping five clean sheets in ten league games between the sticks. Another ever present in Joe Mattock and experienced captain Glenn Loovens sure up a mean Wednesday back line, whilst Tom Lees will be vying for a starting spot on his return to Elland Road after his summer switch.
With both teams having picked up only one point from their last two league games, they’ll be aiming to end their current, brief poor run of form. The Owls have the better of recent encounters between the two as they came away with a point after a 1-1 draw at Elland Road last season and in the reverse at Hillsborough, recorded the joint biggest home win of the Championship season with a 6-0 hammering.
Leeds will want to swiftly get Darko Milanic’s tenure up and running with all three points in Saturday’s Yorkshire Derby but the emerging Sheffield Wednesday will be looking to climb into the playoff spots in what promises to be an interesting matchup between two of the counties former greats.