For the previous two seasons winter has proved to be a time when Sheffield Wednesday’s fortunes have changed for the better and instigated a slow rise up the Championship table to safety. Despite a positive start, we head into the festive period closer to the bottom three than the top six. If we can replicate that trend this season it might give us a chance of challenging for a place in the play offs. However if we don’t manage to turn recent draw’s into victories a third successive relegation battle is on the cards. The next month will be crucial in determining which path our season will take.
It’s been a strange season so far. On the whole we’ve competed well in games and proved a match for the teams we have come up against. Our defence has been our strength and particular mentions should go to Keiren Westwood and Tom Lees; invaluable additions from our summer recruitment. Our problem, and it’s a big one; scoring goals. Most people would look at our strikers and think they are the reason we haven’t got more points on the board. Whilst our front men need to shoulder some responsibility, we also need to look at the severe lack of creativity. There is also an issue that our midfield and defence are not adding to our goals for column. In some games we’ve looked like we will never score. We’ve had strong penalty shouts waved away but ultimately we haven’t been good enough in creating and finishing chances.
I do believe that we have some hope that the situation will improve. The recent signing of Lewis McGugan will hopefully fill the creative gap our midfield has lacked. Royston Drenthe has showed flashes of ability and clearly has talent. We just need him to find some consistency and avoid the disciplinary tight rope he seems to walk in every game. Stevie May looks to be adapting to Championship life after a challenging start, he just needs to get some more goals under his belt and I’m confident he can flourish. We need to create some opportunities for him and hope he can be one of the answers to our goal scoring problems.
The coming month sees us play teams who have recent Premier League experience. Two matches against Wigan who are surprisingly struggling in the bottom three. Trips to Blackburn and Fulham won’t be easy whilst Wolves come to Hillsborough in slight decline after a strong start. Throw in bottom club Blackpool who are fighting to avoid being cut adrift and it should be an intriguing and exciting month for the club; provided we can make some 3-point hauls!
Since the annihilation at the Etihad Stadium in September, we’ve failed to win a game. Little did we know going into that game what effect defeat would have. We’ve been unlucky at times but now we need to make our own luck. First job, score some goals. With our defence the wins should follow. Let’s just hope the second half of the season we are looking down on the relegation battle and not scrapping in it.
Up the Owls!
Written by Carl Mullooly, We Are Going Up’s Sheffield Wednesday blogger
Carl tweets at @MulOwl