Cheltenham Town vs. Sheffield Wednesday

Sheffield Wednesday make the trip to Cheltenham Town on Wednesday evening looking to kick-start their League One promotion bid.

At a time when the Owls can return to top spot in the standings, despite losing successive matches, Cheltenham are down in 17th place on the back of some of their best form of the season.

Match preview

Sheffield Wednesday manager Darren Moore before the match on February 7, 2023

Having not lost since the beginning of October, Sheffield Wednesday appeared on course to cruise to promotion with numerous matches to spare.

However, a draw with Bolton Wanderers and successive defeats at Barnsley and Forest Green Rovers have changed the equation, arguably leaving Darren Moore’s side with their biggest game of the campaign on Wednesday.

Although dropping points to fellow promotion chasers did not feel like a disaster, succumbing 1-0 to Forest Green – opponents who had not won since December – did, and Moore must find a way to lift his players as they bid to protect their top-two spot.

Holding a chance to move one point ahead of leaders Plymouth Argyle, Sheffield Wednesday remain in a favourable position, yet their poor form and the relentlessness of Barnsley have made this a four-horse title and promotion race.

Despite two away defeats in a row, the Yorkshire giants remain with the best record on their travels in the division, something which should not be forgotten ahead of squaring off versus one of the form teams in the division.

Not so long go, Cheltenham appeared like they may suffer relegation to League Two, a consequence of just five wins coming between October 25 and the end of February.

Instead, Wade Elliott looks like he will deliver the club’s primary objective for the season having moved his team eight points clear of the bottom four.

Ten points have been collected from fixtures versus Fleetwood Town, Lincoln City, Peterborough United and Exeter City, and Cheltenham have also played fewer games than many of the teams below them having had the weekend off.

Conceding in the 69th minute of the latter of those fixtures ended a run of 362 minutes without shipping a goal, and Cheltenham will back themselves to do the same versus opponents who did not score versus their bottom-placed Gloucestershire neighbours last time out.

Team News

With a week-and-a-half to prepare for this contest, Elliott may look to start with the same Cheltenham XI from the triumph over Exeter.

Although central midfielder Taylor Perry was introduced as a half-time substitute in that game, Ryan Jackson is likely to retain his spot at right wing-back.

Luton Town loanee Glen Rea is an option in the middle of the pitch if Elliott wishes to add more experience in that area.

Moore will almost certainly shake up his Sheffield Wednesday starting lineup with Will Vaulks among the players in line for recalls.

Jaden Brown could be given a run out at left wing-back, while Jack Hunt may replace Dominic Iorfa, being used in a back three or at wing-back.

Cheltenham Town possible starting lineup:
Southwood; Long, Taylor, Bradbury; Jackson, Sercombe, Bonds, Ferry; Broom; Keena, May

Sheffield Wednesday possible starting lineup:
Dawson; Palmer, Flint, James; Hunt, Vaulks, Bakinson, Bannan, Brown; Smith, Gregory

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