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Opposition View: Sheffield Wednesday

The lowdown on Wednesday's opponents...

21 August 2018

This season we will be gathering the views from our opponents' local press on their team, progress and hopes for the season. As we prepare to face Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough this week in Sky Bet Championship action, we spoke to Andy Giddings of BBC Radio Sheffield.

What was your view on Sheffield Wednesday last season?

Sheffield Wednesday endured an injury nightmare last season, with many fans believing those problems started in a poor pre-season. Early and mid-season results ultimately cost Carlos Carvalhal his job at Christmas. Jos Luhukay came in steadied the ship with some pragmatic, solid, performances which led to a strong end to the season, giving hope for this season. Some of the problems were unavoidable, some were.

How would you assess the summer, pre-season and the club's transfer business?

A transfer embargo has meant no new signings (at the time of writing) and an increased reliance on youth. Some of those young players, however, show much promise.

What have you been able to gather from the team's opening league games this campaign?

Wednesday look to have a weakness in defense. Wigan and Brentford could have had bigger margins of victory had it not been for impressive goalkeeping performances and a large slice of luck. They have looked disjointed in midfield and service to those up front has not been regular enough. The Owls want to play it out from the back, but struggle against teams that press them.

They do have a good starting XI, but some of those experienced players have not started well. The team rely heavily on Barry Bannan and Fernando Forestieri, but they can’t do it alone.

What have you made of Jos Luhukay since he arrived at Hillsborough?

I think he made a good start in trying circumstances. Mathematically it took them a while to confirm their safety last season, but it would have defied some football logic had they have fallen into serious trouble. The team improved when the better players returned.

He has then had to deal with financial issues, so he has only been able to make one signing. Luhukay has a decent pedigree from his time in Germany but the odds are stacked against him at Hillsborough, especially with the pressure to recreate the successes of the recent top-six finishes.

Who would you describe as Wednesday's key men?

Barry Bannan and Fernando Forestieri are the key players. Forestieri provides the spark in attack and can often be the difference maker. Bannan is a conductor that makes it all come together. It's also worth mentioning Tom Lees, who on his day is a top Championship defender.

What are the club's hopes for the season ahead? Can they return to a Play-Off push?

Given the problems that currently need solving at Wednesday it would be daft to predict a Play-Off push, but personally I've no major fears that the club will be relegated. A lot depends on their ability to trade effectively in either this loan window or in January.

Your score prediction for Wednesday night's game?

I will predict 1-1 – I think Wednesday will respond after a poor performance at Brentford, but I'm aware of Millwall's strong start to the season and the way they pressed Derby into submission recently.

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