Meet the opposition | Sheffield Wednesday
With Sheffield Wednesday set to visit the Liberty Stadium, we take a closer look at the Owls in our opposition guide.
What's their story?
Wednesday are now in their ninth consecutive Championship season since being promoted to the second tier following a second-place finish in League One in 2012.
They came close to returning to the Premier League twice under former Swans boss Carlos Carvalhal – in 2016 and 2017 – but have not finished higher than 12th in the three years since.
It is now 20 years since the Owls last appeared in the top flight, and almost 30 years since their only major trophy – the 1991 League Cup. They went on to reach the FA Cup and League Cup finals two years later.
How's their form?
Wednesday got back on track just before the international break, with four points from two games. That came after a run of four consecutive defeats, and the Owls also lost to Preston on the weekend. However, the decision to reduce their pre-season points deduction from 12 to six has moved them off the bottom of the Championship table.
Away form is a cause for concern for the Owls, who have lost five of their last six away from Hillsborough – scoring just once during that span.
Who's the boss?
Tony Pulis. The Welshman was recently appointed as Garry Monk’s successor at Hillsborough. A qualified FA coach by the age of 19, with a UEFA A-licence at the age of 21, Pulis was one of the youngest professional players to have gained the qualification, and took his first steps in management as player-manager with the Cherries in 1992.
He has since managed Gillingham, Bristol City, Portsmouth, Stoke (twice), Plymouth, Crystal Palace, West Brom and Middlesbrough, enjoying his greatest success with the Potters, leading them to the Premier League and the 2011 FA Cup final.
Who's the captain?
Barry Bannan was given the armband at the start of this season, replacing Tom Lees as skipper. The experienced midfielder has racked up over 200 appearances for the Owls during five years at Hillsborough.
The winner of 27 Scotland caps, Bannan has been an ever-present in the heart of Wednesday’s midfield so far this season.
The 30-year-old, who started out at Aston Villa, has also played for Derby, Blackpool, Leeds, Crystal Palace and Bolton during his career.
Who are the key men?
The departure of last season’s top scorer Steven Fletcher left a substantial void for the Owls to fill in attack.
They certainly strengthened in numbers following the acquisitions of Elias Kachunga from Huddersfield and Derby loanee Jack Marriott, but both are still looking to hit their stride in South Yorkshire – as is the well-travelled Jordan Rhodes.
Indeed, Marriott will miss the trip to SA1 through an injury that could see him sidelined for six weeks.
The other summer arrivals include former Wigan midfielder Josh Windass, while Izzy Brown and Aden Flint have arrived on loan from Chelsea and Cardiff respectively.