Match preview: Sheffield Wednesday v Ipswich Town – Hurst on facing the club he grew up supporting
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Ipswich Town take on Sheffield Wednesday, at Hillsborough, in a Championship match this afternoon. STUART WATSON previews the action.
Paul Hurst says there will be no room for sentiment today when he leads Ipswich Town out at Sheffield Wednesday – the club he grew up supporting.
Born and raised in Sheffield, Hurst was a regular at Hillsborough along with his dad and brother during the ‘80s. There’s only one thing on his mind though and that’s securing his first win in charge of the Blues.
“They were my team growing up,” said the 43-year-old. “The first one was Gary Bannister and Gary Shelton when they reached the semi-final of the FA Cup (‘83) – I wasn’t allowed to go, I had to go swimming while my dad went down to Highbury! Then there was Brian Marwood, a very good team, and I watched them lose at Villa Park (in the FA Cup semis, ‘86) against Everton. Obviously they then won the (League) Cup with John Sheridan’s goal (in ‘91).
“They have had some very, very good times. The last few years have been a little frustrating for them, they have a few issues currently, but it’s still a very big football club and certainly one that’s well supported. That atmosphere, along with a good Ipswich following, is something I’m looking forward to experiencing.”
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Hurst, who spent virtually his entire playing career for Rotherham, continued: “I got to play on the Hillsborough pitch quite a few times for Sheffield Boys and I’ve seen the stadium change over the years. I went to the game the other night and that brought back some memories. When you come out and the songs get going it kind of makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up a little.
“But, very much, come Saturday there is only one team I want to win – and that isn’t Sheffield Wednesday!
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“I’ve got friends who have told me they want Sheffield Wednesday to win, but not by too many. My family want me to win... I think they do, anyway!
“It’s a nice occasion for me, but I’m not getting too wrapped up in it. It will be a special moment to lead a team out at Hillsborough, but when that whistle goes it’s game on and we’re looking to get that first victory.”
After away defeats to Wigan and Brentford, either side of a home draw against Hull, the Owls secured their first league win of the season on Wednesday night when beating Millwall 2-1.
“They’ve changed system already, at times the personnel has changed too, so it’s not the easiest of games to prepare for,” admitted Hurst.
“I don’t know exactly what they are going to do. They are giving quite a lot of young players opportunities when many fans would say they had stronger players on the bench. Whether or not he (Jos Luhukay) was just mixing it up in the middle of a Sunday-Wednesday-Saturday schedule, or whether they stick with a winning team I don’t know.
“But we know the threats that they carry.”
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Paul Hurst says he is picking his summer signings on merit.
The new Blues boss has brought in nine new players so far, none of whom have any significant Championship experience, with seven of them having been handed league starts.
“I think the lads that have come in have done pretty well,” said Hurst. “If I genuinely felt that the lads that I inherited were head and shoulders above the lads that I’ve brought in then I’d hold my hands up and revert to some of the players that were already here.
“I mean this with no disrespect to the lads that were here before me, but I haven’t seen that big a difference. It’s just about getting them all together as a team and trying to improve with each game that comes along.”
Fulham loaneen Tayo Edun is available again today after serving a one-game suspension. Hurst said: “He’s done well in a position (left wing) that is not his first port of call. I’m told he showed a good attitude to training on Tuesday while we were away and I have to say he is looking sharp.”
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2007 – Town’s last loss at Hillsborough (W4 D5)
19 – Seasons outside the top-flight for Sheff W
16 – Andre Dozzell’s age when he scored on his debut at Hillsborough in April 2016
Manager: Jos Luhukay (Jan ‘18): W11 D9 L10
Last five finishes: 15th, 4th, 6th, 13th, 16th (all Championship)
Last home attendance: 23,416
Last game: W 2-1 Millwall (h) – Weds
Key summer signings: None (under transfer embargo)
Key summer exits: Hunt, Wallace, Loovens, Rhodes, Venancio, Butterfield
Top-scorer: Forestieri (2)
League ever-presents: Dawson, Lees, Pelupessy, Bannan, Reach
Sheffield Wednesday (4-3-3): Dawson; Palmer, Lees, Thorniley, Penney; Preston, Pelupessy, Bannan, Forestieri, Fletcher, Reach.
Ipswich Town (4-1-4-1): Bialkowski; Donacien, Nsiala, Chambers, Knudsen; Chalobah; Edwards, Nolan, Edun, Ward; Harrison.
Ipswich Town team news
• Paul Hurst says it is ‘very doubtful’ that Cole Skuse will be involved after the midfielder limped off with an ongoing quad problem during Tuesday night’s 2-0 defeat at Derby.
• Jon Nolan is also a doubt after rolling his ankle early (and playing on) at Pride Park.
• Tayo Edun is available again after serving his one-game ban for the red card he received in last weekend’s 1-1 home draw with Aston Villa.
• Emyr Huws continued his recovery from a long-term knee injury by paying 45 minutes for the Under-23s on Monday, though Teddy Bishop missed the 8-0 win against Hull through illness.
Sheffield Weds team news
• Following a 2-0 defeat at Brentford last Sunday, boss Jos Luhukay made five changes to his team and they duly beat Millwall 2-1 at home on Wednesday night.
• The likes of Fernando Forestieri, Sam Hutchinson, Daniel Pudil, George Boyd, Atdhe Nuhiu and Lucas Joao are all options to freshen things up. Or Luhukay could keep faith with homegrown youngsters such as Matt Penney and Fraser Preston.
• Joost van Aken (ankle) has joined Gary Hooper (hip), Kieran Lee (hip) and Almen Abdi (hamstring) in the treatment room.
Opposition key man
The 31-year-old Scottish international striker is strong in the air, holds up the ball and brings others into play. Must keep performing to keep the fit-again Lucas Joao out the side.
Jeremy Simpson (Lancashire)
Games: 4, Yellows: 11, Reds: 0
Sheffield Weds 6/4
Ipswich Town 45/17
Sheff Weds 1 Ipswich Town 2
Date: Tuesday, March 6, 2018
Martyn Waghorn curled in a sublime late free-kick (83) to secure Town victory.
Bartosz Bialkowski had made a super save in a scrappy goalless first half. Then Waghorn broke the deadlock from close-range (51) before Lucas Joao equalised (69) with a composed finish.
Sheff Weds 1 Ipswich Town 1
Similar starts to the season. Look evenly-matched. Town’s wait for a win may go on.