Darren Moore couldn't have picked a more pivotal game to kick off his Sheffield Wednesday tenure, with their midweek clash against Rotherham United doubling up as a South Yorkshire derby and relegation six-pointer.
It's a game between two sides who are woefully out of form. A run of four straight defeats has plunged the Owls into 23rd place, six points adrift of safety. Their most recent defeat was the most frustrating of all. After racing into a fully deserved 2-0 lead in the first half against Luton Town, Wednesday collapsed after the interval and suffered a crushing 3-2 loss.
That proved to be Neil Thompson's last game in temporary charge, with the Owls confirming the appointment of Moore on Monday morning. Thompson picked up five wins in his first seven league outings, but Wednesday's recent plight prompted Dejphon Chansiri to poach Moore from Doncaster Rovers.
He'll be the fourth different man to take charge of the Owls this season, whilst their opponents have been a picture of stability in the dugout. Rotherham may have yo-yo'd between the Championship and League One in recent seasons, but Paul Warne has been in charge since 2016.
He'll be doing everything he can to keep the Millers in the division, but his team's recent form has deserted him. The South Yorkshire side have lost their last five games - all by a one goal margin. That includes four consecutive 1-0 defeats.
Prior to that, the Millers had won four and drawn one of their previous six outings. These are two teams who have experienced the rollercoaster of inconsistency in the Championship in 2021.
Sheffield Wednesday's selection issues haven't helped their plight this season, and Moore will be without a number of first team players as he mulls over his first team selection
Kieren Westwood, Massimo Luongo, Dominic Iorfa, Joost Van Aken, Moses Odubajo and Fisayo Dele-Bashiru are all injured.
On a brighter note, Liam Shaw will return for the Owls after serving his suspension for picking up two bookings in the 1-0 defeat to Birmingham City.
In the opposite camp, Rotherham have three central defenders out. Clark Robertson (hamstring) and Richard Wood (groin) are sidelined, whilst Michael Ihiekwe is suspended.
Chiedozie Ogbene, Joe Mattock and Jamie Lindsay will be absent through injury.
Sheffield Wednesday (4-2-3-1)
Wildsmith, Palmer, Dunkley, Lees, Penney, Hutchinson, Bannan, Harris, Windass, Brown, Paterson.
Rotherham United (4-3-3)
Johansson, Olosunde, Harding, A. MacDonald, Wiles, Barlaser, Wing, Crooks, Sadlier, Ladapo, Smith.
Ones to watch
Despite possessing obvious quality, Izzy Brown's time at Sheffield Wednesday hasn't gone to plan. He's struggled with his fitness and has mostly been out of the team since September, but he started in the defeat at Luton. Brown was excellent in the first half, showing his ball carrying and passing ability.
It will be interesting to see if Moore is a fan of the Chelsea loanee. He's used loan players a lot during his managerial career. In theory, Moore's preference for a 4-2-3-1 system could suit Brown, as he's capable of playing as an attacking midfielder or off the left.
Rotherham United's players will have been licking their lips if they saw Wednesday's second half display at Luton. The Owls struggled to deal with the directness of the Hatters, and powerful frontman Elijah Adebayo had plenty of joy against Wednesday's central defenders.
Standing at 6ft 4, Michael Smith is a powerful target man who will be able to dominate aeirally against a weak backline - if the service up to him is good. He's managed seven goals and three assists in 29 appearances this season.
Rotherham enjoyed a comfortable 3-0 win over their neigbours back in October, as pressure grew on Owls manager Garry Monk. Jamie Lindsay opened the scoring after six minutes, with Dan Barlaser making it two from the spot after Tom Lees was sent off for a professional foul. Lindsay made it three on the stroke of half time.
Where to watch
The clash kicks off at 7:45pm on Wednesday March 3. It will be shown live on Sky Sports Arena and the two club's iFollow channels.