Neutralising the threat of Glenn Murray will be crucial to Sheffield Wednesday’s hopes of becoming only the second team to beat Brighton and Hove Albion in their own backyard.
That is the verdict of midfielder Barry Bannan as the Owls seek to extend their unbeaten Championship run to seven matches.
Since dropping down a division and accepting a loan offer from the Seagulls, Murray has been a key figure in their automatic promotion tilt, hitting 15 goals in 26 matches.
Murray, on loan from Bournemouth until the end of the campaign, is poised to lead the line tonight.
Bannan knows the veteran striker, who was a transfer target for the Owls when Stuart Gray was in charge, well, having played alongside him at Crystal Palace.
“Glenn is a nice guy and I am glad he’s doing well but hopefully he will be quiet on Friday,” Bannan told The Star. “He will score goals, no matter where he goes.
“Even at Palace in the Premier League, where he wasn’t really getting a look in, he nearly finished top goalscorer.
“No doubt about it, his credentials as a goalscorer are brilliant.”
Although Murray can be a handful on his day, Bannan is confident the Owls’ defence can frustrate him.
He said: “Glenn has always scored goals whereever he’s been but our clean sheets recently have been a big plus for us.
“Our defence will have a job on their hands, but it is nothing they aren’t capable of. They have been brilliant in recent games in keeping clean sheets and if you do that, it shows you are going to win games in this league.”
It finished one apiece the last time the two sides met at the Amex Stadium last May. The result confirmed the Owls’ place in the Championship Play-Off Final.
But the Seagulls refused to dwell on that disappointment and have come back stronger this time around.
Saturday’s reversal at Preston North End ended their 18-match unbeaten streak. It was only Brighton’s third loss of the season and Chris Hughton’s men are currently second in the standings.
Bannan said: “It is a massive game, but one we are looking forward to.
“Since I have come here, it seems as if we have played Brighton quite a lot. They are a very good team right at the top of the league and deserve it. It is where we want to be and we are going into this game with great confidence with the results we have had recently.”
The Scotland international is not surprised Brighton regrouped quickly after narrowly missing out on promotion.
“I think they have kept their players from last season, which is a big plus because a lot of them had good seasons and probably had teams sniffing around them,” said Bannan.
“They have kept their players and built on it and I think it shows with their league position.”