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Michael Taylor 30th Jan 2009 - 20:39

Grant provides foundations for Hillsborough revolution

Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeper Lee Grant will look to enhance his growing reputation on Saturday and thwart Alex Mcleish's promotion chasing Birmingham City.

Grant has been in superb form of late, leading to a shortlisting for the January PFA Championship fans' player of the month, and while apparent rumours of a future England call-up may still be a long way off, he has given Wednesday a solid backbone that epitomises the spirit that has been sadly lacking over the past decade.

His performances at Hillsborough in particular have been sensational as the Owls boast the joint best home defensive record in the Championship and have given long suffering fans a glimpse of what might be coming their way over the next few years.

If you're a Sheffield Wednesday fan you probably want to forget the past ten years as a mixture of crippling debt, ineffective management and falling attendances have ripped the heart out of a once great club.

It has been so bad in fact that according to a recent report the Owls were declared the biggest underachievers in English football over the past fifteen years - not great news in the most money driven era in football history!

Recently however, things have started looking rosier for the blue half of Sheffield as new investors have brought new money and optimism to the club, while on field performance has improved to a level that a promotion push may be realistic in the not-so-distant future.

And with a new ticketing policy in operation, home attendances should be on the rise, so what could be better than another clean sheet and three points in the bag against the highest profile club in the Championship?

Whether this is realistic is another matter, especially given Franny Jeffers idiotic sending off last week further exacerbated a sad lack of firepower. However, Marcus Tudgay and Jermaine Johnson have been looking lively and new signings Darren Potter and Michael Gray have made an immediate impact since their switch from Wolves.

Sheffield Wednesday are priced at 7/4 to win the game which represents better value than the 5/4 about Birmingham but, with Wednesday solid at home and the Blues flying high in the league, 11/5 about a draw looks the best shout.

What can be said is that the Blues have the resources to comfortably win the game (and the league) with an array of strikers that includes Kevin Phillips, James McFadden and Marcus Bent, and a star-studded midfield that draws experience from Lee Carsley and style from Sebastian Larsson.

Yet, something hasn't quite clicked for the pre-season promotion favourites and there is nothing to suggest Birmingham are going to change this under the Sky Sports cameras - it is because of this, the 17/2 about 0-0 and 11/2 about 1-1 look great value.

If there are goals in the game it is hard to look past Birmingham's Kevin Phillips who continues to show there is no substitute for experience and, at 5/1 to net the first of the game, is definitely value, while Marcus Tudgay is Wednesday's best option at 6/1.

However, for a good outside bet, Blues centre back Raidi Jaidi is a constant set piece threat and is great value at 25/1 to net either the first or last goal of the game.

But, regardless of Saturday's result, Wednesday fans can look forward with renewed hope for the future - or at least until next week's encounter with Sheffield United!

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