Sheffield Wednesday vs SouthamptonEngland Championship, KO: 20:00 Aug 4, 2023, Hillsborough
IT'S the English Championship's big kick off on Friday night when Sheffield Wednesday host a Southampton side who were two leagues above them last term.
Both Wednesday and Saints are under new management ahead of the Yorkshire showdown after traumatic summers. Southampton poached former Rangers and Scotland defender Russell Martin from Swansea City and he's quickly gained a reputation as one of the best coaches at this level.
He has so far managed to bat off interest in the bulk of his players who were in the Premier League last season although West Ham continue to cast admiring glances towards his £30 million-rated captain James Ward-Prowse.
Last season, they were pitiful really and went down with a whimper after just six wins all campaign where they finished bottom of the table.
Wednesday returned to the Championship after a two-year absence and they did it the hard way after a remarkable comeback win over Peterborough United in the semi-finals after losing the first leg 4-0. They beat South Yorkshire rivals Barnsley in the play-off final with the last kick of the ball…or header.
However, manager Darren Moore left weeks after their Wembley win over a contract dispute and former Watford manager Xisco Munoz has replaced him at Hillsborough.
How the bookies view it
Recent head to heads
The sides met in the League Cup at St Mary's last season and the Saints won on penalties after a 1-1 draw.
They were last in the same league 13 years ago in League One.
Players to watch
Scotland striker Che Adams has spent the summer being linked with Premier League teams yet remains at St Mary's and will surely start on Friday. He is 12/5 to score anytime with bet365.
Josh Windass was the Wednesday hero last season when he scored in the third minute of extra time injury time to win the play-off final against Barnsley. He is 3/1 to score anytime with bet365.
Anything else catch the eye?
While both clubs have had a summer of managerial upheaval, Southampton look more settled and have the bulk of a squad who were two tiers above Wednesday last season.
If they don't wilt in what will be a passionate Hillsborough atmosphere, Saints can get off to a good start in their bid to get back to the Premier League at a decent price.
Wednesday's pre-season has been fairly shambolic with just one goal in four games and defeats to Doncaster Rovers, Luton Town and CD Eldense.
Russell Martin's teams are set up to score goals and the 11/8 from Paddy Power for the visitors to score two goals or more looks to be a solid shout.
This England Championship match between Sheffield Wednesday and Southampton will be played on Aug 4, 2023 and kick off at 20:00. Check below for our tipsters best Sheffield Wednesday vs Southampton prediction. You may also visit our dedicated betting previews section for the most up to date previews.