Blackburn Rovers vs Sheffield Wednesday preview:
How to watch, kick-off time, predicted lineups and ones to watch
Photo by Rachel Holborn - BRFC/Getty Images

Sheffield Wednesday will be hoping to put back-to-back wins together for the first time in over a year as they travel to midtable Blackburn Rovers on Boxing Day.

The Owls picked up their first win under manager Tony Pulis on Saturday thanks to Tom Lees’ 67th-minute header against Coventry City.

That was Wednesday’s second win in 15 matches, and it also broke a run of four successive defeats. The last time the Owls registered two successive victories was in December 2019, where they picked up wins against Nottingham Forest and Bristol City.

Pulis will be hoping that his side can now push on and narrow the four-point gap between themselves and safety.

The huge workload of fixtures has taken its toll on Blackburn’s play-off berth, seeing them drop down to 11th after just one win from their last five games.

Rovers are the league’s second-highest scorers, netting 34 goals this season, though, they have conceded 24 times which is the 10th worst record in the division.

Tony Mowbray will be encouraged that his side can get back to winning ways – after suffering a loss to Stoke City last time out – due to their impressive home form, being victorious in four of their last five fixtures at Ewood Park.

Team news

Rovers will be hoping that both Daniel Ayala and Ben Brereton will be back available for the visit of Sheffield Wednesday.

Elliott Bennett has been ruled out of the Boxing Day clash with an ankle injury, which is expected to keep him out until the new year.

The Owls were hit with fresh injury woes, as it was confirmed that trio Josh Windass, Barry Bannan and Kadeem Harris would need to be assessed as to whether they will be fit for the trip to Lancashire.

Julian Börner and Massimo Luongo remain out with injury, as does Aden Flint and Jack Marriott, who both are not expected to be fit until January.

Dominic Iorfa has been ruled out for the rest of the season after rupturing his Achilles in the defeat to Barnsley FC.

Moses Odubajo returns from a one-game ban after he picked up five yellow cards. It could be his first involvement since he allegedly gave Forest's Lewis Grabban a ‘high-five’ after the forward’s goal against Wednesday two games ago.

Predicted lineups

Blackburn Rovers (4-3-3):

Kaminski; Nyambe, Johnson, Lenihan, Douglas; Trybull, Rothwell, Holtby; Elliott, Armstrong, Gallagher.

Sheffield Wednesday (3-5-2):

Wildsmith; Lees, Dunkley, van Aken; Harris, Shaw, Pelupessy, Bannan, Reach; Paterson, Windass.

Form guide

Blackburn come into this fixture in poor form, losing three of their last four games in an injury-ravaged period.

A seventh-minute strike from Nick Powell was enough for Stoke to collect three points off Blackburn last weekend.

Their last victory came the game before, beating Rotherham United 2-1 at Ewood Park, with the Blue and Whites needing late goals from Harvey Elliott and Adam Armstrong to come back from a Michael Smith effort on the hour.

Pulis managed to pick up his first win in his ninth game in charge of Sheffield Wednesday with a 1-0 victory over Coventry at Hillsborough.

Lees’ first goal of the season was enough to claim three points for the Owls, with Keiren Westwood returning to the side to put in a man-of-the-match display to earn a crucial victory.

However, prior to Saturday’s win, Wednesday suffered four straight defeats and had failed to win in their previous nine games.

Ones to watch

Blackburn Rovers – Adam Armstrong

Armstrong poses a big threat to a struggling Wednesday side, having scored 15 of Rovers’ 34 league goals this campaign.

The 23-year-old only needs one more goal to equal his best scoring tally of 16, which he totalled last season in over 40 games.

Armstrong takes an impressive 4.9 shots per game, meaning the forward will be looking to taunt a vulnerable Owls backline, which has conceded nine goals in their last six fixtures.

Sheffield Wednesday – Keiren Westwood

Westwood will be integral once again if Wednesday are to pick up another win on Saturday.

The onus will be on the defence to keep the talismanic Armstrong quiet on Boxing Day, but if the forward does find a way through, the Irish international must be on form to keep him out.

Westwood has made an average of 1.3 saves per game across just 194 minutes of football which the 36-year-old has featured in.

Westwood put in a man-of-the-match performance against Coventry on Saturday.

Last time they met

Blackburn thumped Wednesday 5-0 at Hillsborough the last time these two sides met in January.

A Lewis Holtby double either side of a Cameron Dawson own goal saw Mowbray’s side ahead at the break – Luongo also saw red in the 23rd minute on a demoralising day in S6.

Rovers carried on their emphatic start, netting further goals through Darragh Lenihan and Sam Gallagher in the second period.

Blackburn were also victorious the last time these two met at Ewood Park.

Josh Murphy opened the scoring late on for the Owls, however, it was another late show for Blackburn, who equalised through Tosin Adarabioyo in the 88th minute before John Buckley won the game in stoppage time.

Blackburn have won three of their last four meetings with Wednesday.

What the managers have said

Mowbray teased a Bradley Dack selection hint after the playmaker penned a new deal with the club.

"I've had that chat with him and listen, he is very integral in that decision," stated Mowbray, speaking on the contract signing.

"It's his body, he knows his body. He might tell the medical department that he's great or me that he's feeling great but if he has doubts, then he has to err on the side of caution.

"We want the very best version of Bradley Dack back and yet we know the first few weeks aren't going to be the very best version. He has to get up to match speed, he has to play in games, and he has to feel the Championship again, the level we require.

"I feel as though together we will come to the right decision when we feel it's right that he gets added to the squad and he gets on the pitch and starts to influence the game.

"The more he does that the more likely it will be that he is starting football matches again for us and hopefully in the not too distant future is up and running again."

Pulis admitted that his side have not had the rub of the green in the last few weeks, also showing his opposite number some gratitude ahead of the meeting.

“Winning is everything. I don’t think we’ve played bad in the other games, we’ve shot ourselves in the foot in the games we’ve lost,” said Pulis, speaking to the official Sheffield Wednesday website.

“Things haven’t been going for us and there’s maybe been two halves of football we’ve not been happy with, but I think the players are doing their best.

“Things like Joey Pelupessy hitting the woodwork twice against Barnsley, we’ve not had the run of things at times.

“Tony has been there a few years so he’s had time to put things in place, I’ve got a lot of respect for him, he’s a good man.

“They’ve been scoring goals for fun and they’ve got some good players. If they get a little bit of good fortune they can easily end up in the top six.

“We’ve got to concentrate on the three games coming up and try and get as many points as we can and take stock of where we are.”

Where to watch

The match is available on ‘iFollow’ through Blackburn Rovers and Sheffield Wednesday’s respective club websites, with match passes at £10 for those in the United Kingdom.

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