Vital Wednesday drop by to discuss all things Owls, including the belief that despite a reportedly weak defence, confidence is high that they won’t be beaten this weekend.
Nick from Vital Wednesday answers our questions ahead of this weekend’s clash indicating that the Owls can pick up a positive result.
Sheffield Wednesday seem from the outside to be undergoing a transformation behind the scenes, what do you make of the work of Lee Strafford?
We certainly are. It’s going to take time on the pitch, we simply don’t have the funds (unlike some!), but Lee Strafford has come to the club, a Wednesday fan, and is seeking new investment to take the club that next step forward.
It’s going to take time, and some Wednesdayites have lost patience given recent ups and downs, but we’ll get there. His interaction with the fans seems to have been met with mixed reactions – he posts on forums, including Vital Wednesday, and invites fans to add him on Facebook.
It’s certainly different, and I like it. He listens to what the fans have to say. Unfortunately a few disagree, but I think they’re the minority.
You managed to retain the services of Marcus Tudgay in the summer, how key is his presence in the Wednesday squad?
He’s our key attacker, no doubt about it. It looked as though all the transfer speculation had an impact on him at the start of the season as he wasn’t up to scratch.
He’s gradually found his form of last season again though, and is playing in his preferred role as a striker rather than out wide and is reaping the rewards. He’s our top scorer.
What are your aspirations for this season, is it just consolidation or do you harbour playoff ambitions?
Unfortunately mid-table – again. It’s all we can hope for without investment, and although with a bit of luck we could well push for the play-offs, it’s unlikely.
More important things are happening off the pitch at the moment and Brian Laws just needs to do his best with the team while it’s all progressing. If you’d have offered us mid-table in the Championship a couple of years ago though, I’d have snapped your hand off!
What has been your favourite meeting between the two sides at Hillsborough?
The one I remember clearly was the day you got promoted at Hillsborough from League One. A good game of football, plenty of Rangers fans, and a couple sat in front of me too (although they didn’t cheer much!). It was a great end to the season.
Brian Laws has certainly steadied things, is he the right man to take the club forward in your opinion?
He’s the right man at the moment. Whether he can take the club up to the Premier League is another thing. He seems to be at his limit with the current squad, but we’re all waiting to see if he’ll be given a chance to build the squad with some cash sometime soon.
He’s done well for us, but he’s inconsistent and it shows in our results. I’d like a bit of consistency from him, but I’m happy he’s at the helm at the moment, and he deserves at least another year or so at the very least.
What are the squad’s strengths and weaknesses?
Weaknesses have been in the defence this season. We brought Darren Purse in looking to strengthen but he’s been poor and has been the scapegoat for our poor performances.
Lewis Buxton hasn’t been much better but he’s improved at centre-back instead of right-back. Richard Wood has been transfer listed after failing to agree a new deal, but Frank Simek is now back which is a real plus. Crying out for a new centre-back though.
Strengths have been the ever-young Michael Gray, who’s been one of our best performers this season. Not sure if he’ll play on Saturday though due to an injury.
We’d also been scoring quite frequently but the goals seem to have dried up a bit of late!
Wednesday have picked up a sporadic set of results recently, to what do you attribute this?
We’ve been picking up those kind of results for the last few years! Inconsistent performances, lack of a big enough squad for players to fill in when others are injured.
Who is the man Rangers should watch out for this weekend?
On his day, Jermaine Johnson can be a real handful with his pace. I’m sure Rangers were after him last season. He lacks a good goalscoring touch, he’d probably be in the Premier League is he could shoot, but his pace can cause problems for any defence in this division.
Conversely is there any player(s) that you fear from QPR?
I’ve not seen much of you, and when I did you got beat by Leicester! But Taarabt looks a quality player, a real handful, and exactly the type of player I’d love to see at Hillsborough. I can see him causing us problems.
How do you think the game will pan out, and what’s your prediction?
I’ve got a funny feeling of a Wednesday win on this one, simply because we’ll probably go into it as underdogs. I don’t think we’ll lose. The players are out to prove a point to the home fans and I think they’ll put in a battling performance. I’ll still sit on the fence though and say 1-1.
Many thanks to Nick
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