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Wednesday Preview

By: Stephen Bateman
Date: 31/12/2000

After the disappointment of Saturday's postponed home fixture against Portsmouth, the Mariners travel to Hillsborough on New Years Day as they prepare to do battle with fellow First Division strugglers Sheffield Wednesday.

Grimsby Town

In spite of having ridden their luck recently, the Mariners find themselves on a four-game unbeaten run and manager Lennie Lawrence will be pleased to see signs of improvement on the injury front.

Defender Zhang Enhua looks set to start for Grimsby after recovering from an ankle injury sustained during the 1-1 draw with Stockport County on Boxing Day. It is possible that Zhang may be partnered in defence by Peter Handyside, who returns to the squad after recovering from a bout of flu'.

Wayne Burnett, scorer of Town's equaliser against Stockport, is also available for selection after overcoming problems with a sore foot, along with Knut Anders Fostervold who has been struggling with a rib injury also incurred on Boxing Day.

Steve Livingstone will make his last appearance for the Mariners before being hauled in front of the FA to answer charges of misconduct after making comments to referee Trevor Jones during a November encounter with Wednesday's Sheffield neighbours in November.

John McDermott faces a late fitness check on an injured toe, although it seems likely that the right-back will be forced to settle for a place on the bench at best.

Sheffield Wednesday

The Owls, currently occupying 22nd place in the First Division will be anxious to put some much-needed points on the board against Town. With just one win from their last eight games, Wednesday are in deep trouble both on and off the pitch with financial difficulties continuing to haunt them.

Michele Di PiediItalian striker Michele Di Piedi (pictured), scorer of the only goal in the fixture between the two teams earlier this season, returns to the side after missing the Owls goalless draw against Huddersfield on Boxing Day - a game that saw Paul Jewell's men finish the game with ten players after the dismissal of Gerald Sibon.

After watching his side record their first clean sheet in fourteen matches, Jewell commented:

"We have been working hard on the training ground but we can't seem to do it on the pitch. We know that we need about 30 points from the remaining games this season."

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