Can Posh End Sheffield Wednesday's Winning Run?
Darren Moore’s highly tipped Owls have made a solid start to their 2022/23 League One campaign with two wins and a draw leaving them joint top with Ipswich Town on 7 points.
The Yorkshire outfit also swooped a second round Carabao Cup tie with Rochdale after defeating Championship opposition Sunderland 2-0 last Wednesday night, meaning The Owls are yet to taste defeat this season.
However, their biggest test yet could come this evening as they travel to London Road where they’ll face a Peterborough United side who will be looking to bounce straight back to the second tier this term after dropping down last May.
The Posh took their time acclimatising back to League One, finding themselves 2-0 down to Cheltenham at half time on opening day. However, Grant McCann has previous in promotion out of this division with his old club Hull City and his latest side fought back to claim a thrilling 3-2 win to kick start their season.
Peterborough continued as they left off drilling Morecambe 3-0 the following week before back-to-back clashes with Plymouth Argyle in cup and league, which saw them progress in the Carabao 2-0 before tasting their first loss of the season in the repeat fixture, by the same score line.
Tonight’s hosts both possibly the most threatening frontline in the third division with a lethal partnership of Jonson Clarke-Harris and Jack Marriott, both of which have won League One golden boots in their careers. Clarke-Harris struck 31 at this level just two seasons ago, playing a key role in Peterborough’s last promotion, and the striker gave a decent account of himself in the Championship despite his team’s relegation as he hit 12 goals last season. Jack Marriott, guilty of an injury-riddled loan spell with Wednesday under Garry Monk, bagged 27 goals for Posh back in their 2017/18 League One season before making a big move to Derby County.
The forward never reached the same heights at Pride Park and returned to London Road last year, contributing 9 goals in his first season back at the club. Both have already opened their accounts this season in that 3-2 turn around against Cheltenham, with Clarke-Harris claiming a brace, and it won’t be too long before the pair claim their next victim.
Along with their deadly duo, Posh have a pretty handy supporting cast; Jack Taylor, Ben Thompson and Hector Kyprianou make up a handy midfield, Harrison Burrows and Joe Ward are both threats from wide whilst Josh Knight, Frankie Kent and Ronnie Edwards is a solid backline at this level. And overseeing it all is a man who knows the club inside out in former Posh captain Grant McCann.
So, it’s all nicely-poised for what is an early season promotion favourites clash. If Wednesday were able to take anything away from London Road it would be seen as a result, a win and The Owls can consider it a flying start.
It’s an opportunity for Wednesday to make a real statement with a win this evening. Despite their good form it’s fair to say we’re yet to really see The Owls at their best. Long periods of frustration in a difficult game at Hillsborough last Saturday were ultimately redeemed by Tyreeq Bakinson’s late winner. However, for any chance of picking up points against The Posh, Wednesday will need ti be much better than they have been in spells against Charlton and MK Dons. After such an impressive performance beating Sunderland in the cup it will be interesting to see if Moore goes back to a team sheet resembling that of their midweek win.
For me George Byers particular needs to be back in the midfield and perhaps a chance for Dennis Adeniran to shine in the league following his man of the match display against the Mackems. Up front, Wednesday look toothless without their main man Lee Gregory, who if fully fit will surely return to the starting XI. Next to him Josh Windass has looked sharp this season but is yet to really strike a partnership with Callum Paterson who has been fairly uninspiring as a number 9. Michael Smith could potentially be back too but it would come as a surprise if he were to be thrown straight in against such opposition.
One positive from the last three games has been Wednesday’s defending. Against Portsmouth in the curtain-raiser The Owls looked shambolic when dealing with balls into their area but have seen been much more assured and now have three clean sheets on the trot.
As mentioned, if Wednesday can get any kind of a result tonight it will be a valuable one, a win and Owls supporters will begin to dream. Peterborough are certainly no mugs, especially at this level and their strike-force will take some keeping out. With a returning Gregory (fingers crossed) and Windass on form The Owls could really do some damage of their own too, which is why I’m going for a 2-2 draw.