Sheffield Wednesday vs Newcastle United Preview: Benitez’s men look for third straight win to boost promotion bid

Newcastle United travel to play-off chasing Sheffield Wednesday knowing that a win will take them closer to an automatic return to the Premier League.

A trip to Hillsborough will not phase Rafael Benitez’s men due to their excellent record on their travels this season.

Benitez’ side narrowly edged past Wigan Athletic and Burton Albion to put their poor home behind them, at least for now as only Leeds United, Preston North End and Barnsley remain left to play at St James’ Park.

Newcastle are top of the Championship on 84 points, one ahead of than second-placed Brighton and Hove Albion and 10 above than third place Huddersfield Town, though the Terriers do have a game in hand.

If the Magpies go on to win the next three games and Huddersfield slip up, the Toon Army could be promoted as early as their clash with Ipswich Town on Monday, April 17.

Last time out – Wednesday win at St James’

If Benitez’s side are to earn another three points, they will have to avenge Sheffield Wednesday’s victory at St James’ Park on boxing day.

United’s rocky home form this season hasn’t escaped the attention of all those involved with the Championship. Glenn Loovens second-half header assisted Carlos Carvalhal’s well-executed his game plan to earn fully deserved the win on the Tyneside.

The Owls frustrated the Magpies and their supporters by slowing down their readiness to get on with the game quickly. Carvalhal’s men saw the best chances fall to them on that evening, with only Karl Darlow making sure the scoreline wasn’t more.

Recent form – Owls clinging on to play-off stop

Reports have suggested Wednesday boss Carvalhal is receiving some criticism from supporters due to the club’s recent form.

Fulham have been breathing down the necks of the Owls, who remain two points behind them just a place outside the top six. Though if it hadn’t had been for the Cottagers losing two of their last three games, Wednesday’s poor recent form would most certainly have been highlighted in the standings.

The Owls have only won two of their last eight, with back-to-back defeats coming twice in that time, firstly against Brentford and Leeds then secondly against Aston Villa and Reading.

Carvalhal’s men will be hoping that they can build some momentum from their 2-0 win last time out at bottom of the table Rotherham United.

History books – United hold strong record at Hillsborough

Newcastle have only lost once at Hillsborough since 1988. Wednesday’s only previous win on their own turf against came against the Magpies in a 2-0 win.

Excluding 1998, in nine meetings since 1989, the Toon Army have taken three wins and five draws.

In 129 meetings between the two sides, the Magpies have won 57, drew 31 and 41 times.