Preview: Sheffield Wednesday vs. Preston North End – prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday’s Championship clash between Sheffield Wednesday and Preston North End, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Sheffield Wednesday will look to put their first points of the Championship season on the board on Saturday, when they welcome Preston North End to Hillsborough.

The Owls suffered a defeat away at Hull City last weekend, while their visitors picked up their first league victory of the campaign at the second time of asking.

Match preview

Sheffield Wednesday manager Xisco Munoz before the match on August 5, 2023© Reuters

After a summer of change at Hillsborough, Sheffield Wednesday have not enjoyed a smooth start to life back in the Championship, after Xisco Munoz was appointed as new manager, replacing Darren Moore who led the Owls to promotion through the League One playoffs last season.

The new boss’s first competitive game in charge of the South Yorkshire outfit came in their curtain-raiser at home to newly-relegated Southampton at the beginning of August, and despite withstanding heavy pressure for the majority of the contest, they looked set to come away with a point as Lee Gregory levelled the scores at a goal apiece early in the second half, only for Che Adams to snatch all three points for the visitors with an 87th-minute winner.

The Owls then hosted fourth-tier Stockport County in an EFL Cup first-round tie, and after looking set to fall to a 1-0 defeat following Paddy Madden‘s early opener, they would force a penalty shootout thanks to Tyreeq Bakinson‘s 97th-minute equaliser before prevailing to advance to the second round as Josh Windass, Callum Paterson, Barry Bannan and Gregory all converted from the spot.

On the back of that first triumph of the season, Munoz’s men most recently travelled to take on Hull City last Saturday, and after initially going ahead through Juan Delgado, they quickly fell well behind as Ozan Tufan levelled from the spot and netted two further second-half goals, before Aaron Connolly added a fourth and Michael Smith hit an injury-time consolation in a 4-2 defeat at the MKM Stadium.

Now left somewhat disappointed by their start to the season and last weekend’s display, Sheffield Wednesday will be keen to rebound on Saturday and put their first points of the season on the board at Hillsborough.

Preston North End manager Ryan Lowe reacts on April 1, 2023© Reuters

They meet a Preston North End side who have enjoyed a more positive start to the new term after their disappointing end to last season under the management of Ryan Lowe.

The Lancashire side eventually finished the 2022-23 Championship campaign in 12th spot in England’s second tier with 63 points, six off the playoff places having failed to win any of their last five outings, and they set out to improve this time around, starting with a trip to Bristol City in the opening round of league games.

Lowe’s men looked set to fall to a 1-0 defeat in that game, following Sam Bell‘s opener early in the second half, but they managed to salvage a point as Will Keane netted an 86th-minute opener on debut, before meeting Salford City in the EFL Cup first round and dropping out after an unsuccessful penalty shootout, following a 2-2 draw in 90 minutes in which Ben Woodburn and Duane Holmes drew them level after going two goals behind.

With their focus fully on Championship action, the Lilywhites then welcomed Sunderland to Deepdale last Saturday and put their first three-point haul on the board, as Keane opened the scoring in the first half, before Jack Clarke drew their visitors level from the penalty spot and Mads Frokjaer-Jensen netted the decisive goal on the hour mark.

Now with four points from their opening two difficult games, Lowe’s men should travel to South Yorkshire with some confidence as they seek to make it back-to-back wins and three games unbeaten to start the Championship term.

Sheffield Wednesday Championship form:

Sheffield Wednesday form (all competitions):

Preston North End Championship form:

Preston North End form (all competitions):

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Team News

Sheffield Wednesday's Dominic Iorfa in action with Southampton's Samuel Edozie on August 4, 2023© Reuters

Following their 4-2 defeat last weekend, Xisco Munoz may look to make several changes to his Sheffield Wednesday side on Saturday, with new arrivals Momo Diaby and Djeidi Gassama hoping to come in in midfield and attack respectively, while fellow summer signings Ashley Fletcher, Anthony Musaba, Pol Valentin and Di’Shon Bernard had to settle for places on the bench last time out and are also fighting to come in from the start.

Michael Smith will hope to lead the line from the outset, having opened his account for the term off the bench at the MKM Stadium, after hitting 20 goals in all competitions last term, with Fletcher, Lee Gregory and Josh Windass also competing to lead the line, while Juan Delgado is bound to keep his place on the wing, leaving one space for Gassama, Musaba or Callum Paterson, who moved further forward last time out.

Dominic Iorfa moved into his right-back spot to accommodate new signing Bambo Diaby alongside Michael Ihiekwe at centre-back last time out, although Bernard, Valentin and Liam Palmer all have claims to come into the defence from the start on Saturday, while George Byers and Will Vaulks are fighting to join captain Barry Bannan in midfield after Tyreeq Bakinson was preferred against Hull.

Preston North End will likely be unchanged from their victory over Sunderland last weekend, with Will Keane bound to again lead the line, having scored in both of his first two league appearances for the club this term after making a summer switch from Wigan Athletic, with Emil Riis and Ched Evans both remaining out of contention.

He will likely be joined in attack by fellow summer arrival Mads Frokjaer-Jensen, with captain Alan Browne likely completing the front unit, while Ali McCann and Ryan Ledson will both hope to keep their places in the engine room with competition from Ben Whiteman.

Centre-back Jack Whatmough is also hoping to come in from the outset following his own arrival from Wigan Athletic, although he may have to wait longer for a starting opportunity with Lowe more likely to field the unaltered back three of Jordan Storey, Liam Lindsay and Andrew Hughes.

Sheffield Wednesday possible starting lineup:
Vasquez; Valentin, Iorfa, Diaby, Famewo; Vaulks, Bannan; Paterson, Windass, Delgado; Gregory

Preston North End possible starting lineup:
Woodman; Storey, Lindsay, Hughes; Potts, McCann, Ledson, Best; Browne, Frokjaer-Jensen; Keane

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We say: Sheffield Wednesday 1-1 Preston North End

Preston North End will travel to Hillsborough with confidence from their encouraging start to the term, while Sheffield Wednesday will certainly be keen to bounce back from their tough start under Xisco Munoz, and we see a share of the spoils as the most likely outcome on Saturday.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

Top tip

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