Football: Wednesday woe

Sheffield Wednesday 0 Coventry City 0 Attendance: 21,087
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The Independent Online
David Pleat has good reason to bleat. No score yesterday, but the goal the Sheffield Wednesday manager really wants to achieve is a fully fit squad.

Two of the five injured first-team players who missed the humiliating defeat at Grimsby in the Coca-Cola Cup in midweek returned for this game, but Pleat saw two more key players join the injury list. His captain Peter Atherton hobbled off in the 17th minute, and he was followed to the sidelines five minutes later by goalkeeper Kevin Pressman.

Pressman's groin injury gave another chance to Matt Clarke, who survived only 10 minutes of his debut in the final match of last season before being sent off. This time he enjoyed a longer taste of the Premiership, but he was grateful to Coventry's wayward strikers for allowing him a clean sheet as Wednesday took their fifth point of the season.

In a hectic start, Roland Nilsson, once of Wednesday, hit a 20-yard drive straight at Pressman. Then Wednesday's pounds 4.5m record signing, Paolo Di Canio, produced a piece of magic but his 12-yard volley shaved the crossbar. At the other end, Coventry's Norwegian striker Tronde Soltvedt, sidefooted into Pressman's arms from similar range.

And so it went on, both sides producing some incisive moves but lacking the finishing touch. Di Canio shaved the woodwork again from 25 yards, but the best two opportunities fell Coventry's way in the last 25 minutes. Dion Dublin shot too tamely from inside the six-yard box after Clarke fluffed a cross and John Salako managed to skim the cross-bar from five yards after Marcus Hall's cross had beaten Clarke.

Pleat should be thankful for small mercies.