Sheffield Wednesday will be without on-loan striker Luke Varney for their home clash with Derby.

Varney, who has scored seven goals for the Owls this season since arriving on loan from Derby in August, has not been given permission to play against his parent club.

Varney's absence is likely to lead to a recall for Leon Clarke alongside Marcus Tudgay up front as Jermaine Johnson is still struggling with a hamstring problem.

Manager Alan Irvine, who has no new injury or suspension problems, could also recall winger Etienne Esajas to the squad after the Dutch winger's brace for the reserves in midweek.

Michael Gray, Tom Soares and Frank Simek - all named among the substitutes in midweek - are hoping for bigger roles as the Owls look to extend their unbeaten run to three league matches.

Derby goalkeeper Stephen Bywater could be fit in time for the crucial clash.

County`s number one has missed the last two matches with a back problem, with on-loan Liverpool stopper David Martin deputising.

Bywater is responding well to treatment and boss Nigel Clough is optimistic he could return at Hillsborough.

"Stephen is coming along well and the signs are good. He is absolutely desperate to play but we don`t want him to rush himself back and be out for longer," said Clough. "We will see how he responds to a bit of light training."

Steven Davies missed the 2-2 draw against Middlesbrough in midweek with a tight hamstring and the striker remains a doubt.

Winger Gary Teale came through 90 minutes in a behind-closed-doors game this week as he continued his return from a torn calf muscle but this game will come too soon for the Scot, whose last appearance was as a substitute at the start of February.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: