Sheffield Wednesday: Skipper ready to face Owls old boy

Former Wednesday striker Gary Madine
Former Wednesday striker Gary Madine

Glenn Loovens is looking forward to his personal battle with Owls old boy Gary Madine tonight.

Madine is set to spearhead Bolton Wanderers’ attack on his first return to Hillsborough since the Championship club released him last summer. The striker has netted four goals in 25 appearances for Wanderers, who handed him a two-year contract.

Captain Loovens told The Star: “We know what Gary is all about. He is a tough striker to handle.

“Gary is very good in the air and that’s one of the best parts of his game. We have to make sure that we cover each other well and that he doesn’t head anything into any dangerous areas.”

Loovens, who has held talks over extending his Owls deal, which is due to run out at the end of the season, is calling on the team to maintain their fine home form. Wednesday have won three in a row and not lost in their own backyard since August.

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“We need to win our home game and pick up as many points as we can away from home,” he said. “At the moment, it just clicks every time we play at home with the fans and I think we should use that to our advantage.

“I think teams are afraid to come to Hillsborough and they should be. We just need to keep on starting strongly, take each game as it comes and not look too far ahead.

“The next game is the most important one and we have to win it to keep pushing for the top six.”

Wednesday are short of centre-back options, with Sam Hutchinson (groin/back), Tom Lees (hamstring) and Michael Turner (knee) all sidelined. The trio are edging closer to first-team comebacks but head coach Carlos Carvalhal is set to keep faith with Loovens and Frenchman Vincent Sasso at the heart of their rearguard this evening.

“I’m delighted for Vincent,” said Loovens.

“He has come in after three months out and not put a foot wrong. It just shows what a good squad we have at the moment. We have been a bit unlucky this season with injuries in the centre-back position but that’s why you have a squad. If one gets injured, then someone else gets a chance to prove their worth for the team.

“Everyone who has come in has done a good job.”

Officials are hoping for a good turn-out, with the clash a category G fixture. Tickets are priced at £20 for adults, £15 seniors, £10 Under-17s and £5 Under-11s.