Championship strugglers and South Yorkshire rivals Sheffield Wednesday and Rotherham cross swords on Wednesday night at Hillsborough. Mark O'Haire previews the encounter.
"The hosts’ 15 home outings have produced just 1.40 goals per-game on average, as 12/15 (80%) have paid out for Under 2.5 Goals 1.73 backers"
Sheffield Wednesday v Rotherham
Wednesday March 3, 19:45
Wednesday capitulate at Kenilworth Road
Sheffield Wednesday head coach Neil Thompson criticised his side for 'reverting to type' in the second half of Saturday's damaging 3-2 defeat at Luton. Josh Windass' first-half double had given the Owls a comfortable half-time lead, but the Hatters made a triple substitution at the break, including a tactical shake-up, which inspired an unforeseen turnaround.
It was Wednesday's fourth successive league loss, leaving Thompson's team six points adrift of Championship safety, and the interim boss refused to hold back post-match, saying: "It's a tough one to take because the first half was as good as we've played all season and probably half-time came too early for us. Second half we just sacked off the game."
Thompson had made four changes to his starting XI, handing recalls to Julian Borner, Izzy Brown, Callum Paterson and Josh Windass. However, further alterations are expected on Wednesday with Keiren Westwood, Massimo Luongo, Dominic Iorfa, Andre Green, Fisayo Dele-Bashiru, Moses Odubajo, Joost van Aken and Cameron Dawson still sidelined.
Rotherham fail to fire
Frustrated Rotherham boss Paul Warne has called on his players to start taking their chances and fire the Millers out of the Championship drop zone after seeing his side slide to a fourth successive 1-0 defeat. United were turned over at the New York Stadium on Saturday by Reading having managed to hit the target only once in 17 attempts on goal.
Michael Smith and Freddie Ladapo, twice, both had big opportunities to score but failed to trouble the goalkeeper while Ben Wiles' shot in stoppage time took a deflection and went just wide. The reverse means Rotherham remain third bottom and the gap between the Millers and safety has grown to five points coming into the crucial midweek match-up.
Warne said: "I think against a good Reading team we created enough to get something out of the game. You're judged on your two boxes and we just weren't good enough in the final third. We are creating chances, we're just not taking them. Sometimes you need one chance to win a game. If we weren't creating anything it would be an even bigger problem."
Sheffield Wednesday hold a W4-D3-L2 head-to-head supremacy over Rotherham across the duos past seven years, although the Owls fell to a convincing 3-0 defeat when the duo met in the reverse encounter back in October. Surprisingly, Wednesday have managed just W1-D2-L4 when welcoming the Millers to Hillsborough for league football since 1981.
Sheffield Wednesday 2.427/5 arrested their awful run of Hillsborough results with a five-game winning streak at home before coming unstuck against Birmingham here 10 days ago. The Owls have been beaten in each of their last four league fixtures, although the hosts have suffered only four defeats in 15 (W6-D5-L4) Hillsborough outings in 2020/21.
Rotherham 3.309/4 have remained competitive in 2020/21. Despite losing over half of their 31 fixtures, Paul Warne's underdogs have only been beaten by a two goals or more on five occasions. However, the Millers have also returned W8-D4-L7 in 19 encounters with teams outside the current top-eight, including W4-D2-L4 on their Championship travels.
Goals have rarely been regular when Sheffield Wednesday have been involved. The Owls have fired blanks in 44% of their league fixtures this term with matches at Hillsborough proving particularly stingy. The hosts' 15 home outings have produced just 1.40 goals per-game on average, as 12/15 (80%) have paid out for Under 2.5 Goals 1.738/11 backers.
Rotherham arrive on the back of four 1-0 losses on the spin, with the Millers' ruing their poor finishing on numerous occasions. Considering what's at stake between the basement battlers, plus the derby nature of the contest, I'm happy to follow those recent trends and support another low-scoring contest from South Yorkshire with Unders appealing again.
Mark's 2020/21 Profit/Loss
Staked: 112.00 pts
Returned: 118.05 pts