PREVIEW: Rotherham -v- Wednesday

PREVIEW: Rotherham -v- Wednesday

Goodbye my lover, goodbye my friend, you have been the one, you have been the one for me.

Rotherham United managed to stick it out until April.

Mercifully, Wednesday’s push for the play-offs has a little while to run yet.

And so the oft-referenced narrative will strike again: relegated Rotherham will find something.

Their players will suddenly remember how their limbs work; win the game; and reduce Wednesday to a crying, dilapidated mess.

Surely not?

Nothing has gone well for Rotherham. They’ve had enough managers to make Massimo Cellino look tolerant and they’re absolutely rubbish at football. They’ll go down with a hole in the bank balance and an even bigger hole in their squad.

For goodness sake Wednesday, do not let this game be the one highlight in their season.

The Owls are now out of the top six and pissing this game away is absolutely not an option.

Fulham take the trip to Derby – yes, we now have to keep tabs on their every move – hopefully Derby will see this as a last chance to reignite their fading hopes of a top six spot and steal at least a point from the hands of The Cottagers.

 

 

Last game Opposition Result Shots On target Corners Cards Fouls Possession
WEDNESDAY Barnsley (A) D 1-1 14 2 1 3 17 47%
ROTHERHAM Fulham (H) L 0-1 8 2 5 1 10 31%

 

Both coaches claimed they were unlucky to draw at Oakwell, but it was the home side who had the better chances, with two shots cleared off the line.

After a tepid first half, Wednesday attempted to up the tempo in the second period.

Sam Winnall enjoyed a glorious moment as he stuck it to the fans who once idolised him by scoring the opener.

Adam Reach chased one of those too-long-and-oh-no-I-have-to-chase-this-to-make-it-look-like-I’m-putting-effort-in passes, and was rewarded for his endeavour, forcing former Wednesday keeper Adam Davies into a mistake that presented Winnall with an empty net.

Shortly after, Winnall was denied a second thanks to the offside flag.

Winnall celebrates his goal in front of the home fans

Given the nature of his return, a second Winnall goal would have killed the atmoshpere, and you would like to think that Wednesday could have better protected a two-goal lead had he just held his run that fraction longer.

Jack Hunt conceded a soft free-kick and Angus McDonald headed in from a poorly defended set piece.

The lively Adam Hammill looked to have struck a late winner but Morgan Fox was there on the line to rescue Wednesday after the Barnsley winger’s arrowed shot flew past the flailing arm of Kieren Westwood.

Rotherham finally fell through the trap door with a home reverse to Wednesday’s rivals for sixth, Fulham.

The number thirty runs through their current statistics.

Sone Aluko poked home just after the hour mark to condemn The Millers to their thirtieth defeat of the season.

United have conceded thirty goals at home already, and Wednesday have form at The New York, winning their last two trips.

They have taken just a solitary point from their last thirty available.

You can get odds as long as 8/1 for the home side to win this fixture.

Oh dear.

 

 

LAST 5 We Hate Winnall FC (A) Reading (H) Villa (A) Burton (H) Norwich (H)
WEDNESDAY D 1-1 L 0-2 L 0-2 D 1-1 W 5-1

 

Fulham (H) QPR (A) Wolves (A) Brighton (H) Villa (H)
ROTHERHAM L 0-1 L 1-5 L 0-1 L 0-2 L 0-2

 

 

*STOP PRESS*

This will tell the lads on Twitter, Carlos.

The lads who think your time ran out a while ago.

The same lads who spend ten minutes of each (away) game singing ‘Carlos had a dream’ at the top of their lungs.

I still love you, Carlos, although you’re testing my patience at times.

Coming out with weird and wonderful analogies to describe good form is all very good, but forcing us to imagine a cod with the head of Kieran Lee isn’t really welcome when we’ve just fallen out of the top six.

The statistics here don’t really reveal much. Rotherham have the worst defensive record in the division, are rooted to the foot of the form table and have bettered only Wigan in the ‘home points’ column.

Wednesday are winless in four and so they too find themselves at the wrong end of the form table.

Only Fulham and Newcastle have conceded fewer goals away from home; Carvalhal’s problem is finding a way to goal – we have scored more than one goal on just three occasions away from Hillsborough this season.

 

 

HEAD 2 HEAD WEDNESDAY WINS ROTHERHAM WINS DRAWS
  18 12 5

LAST MEETING

 

17 December 2016, Hillsborough, Att. 27242

(Fletcher 90+4)

A perfect representation of Wednesday’s season.

Dull, turgid, ultimately effective, little in the way of excitement but kept the opposition in check.

Rotherham had been bottom for twelve games and so Wednesday keeping their eighth clean sheet of the campaign should have been a formality.

Tom Adayemi had a seemingly perfectly good goal chalked off as the home atmosphere began to turn against Wednesday.

There was little in the way of Christmas cheer here and Wednesday, despite having twenty-three shots, only managed to screw five on target.

Rotherham almost hung on for an unlikely point but conceded a soft penalty in the dying embers.

Steven Fletcher converted after Lucas Joao bought the spot-kick from former Wednesday skipper Richard Wood.

The win saw Wednesday leapfrog Derby into the top six, and Carlos will be hoping for a similar outcome this time around.

 

 

CARVALHAL’S COHORTS

 

At one time this would have been unthinkable: Barry Bannan needs dropping. He doesn’t need a rest, he’s in poor spectacularly poor form.

But he won’t be dropped. All our other creative players are injured and he has evidence to the unknown crimes of Carlos Carvalhal.

It might be worth freshening things up ahead of Newcastle’s visit to Hillsborough. The back four need minutes but Liam Palmer could come in for Jack Hunt.

I’m up for starting a community prayer meeting, nightly, at Hillsborough, pleading for the fitness of Wallace, Hutchinson and Forestieri ahead of the Newcastle trip.

With this in mind, some second half minutes here would be welcome, once the game is sewn up with three or four early goals.

Rhodes and Winnall look better together with each game but, again, the midfield service has been lacklustre at best.

WestwoodPreview

WESTWOOD

PALMER

LEES

LOOVENS

FOX

BUCKLEY

BANNAN

JONES

REACH

WINNALL

RHODES

 

 

KEY PLAYERS

 

CARLOS CARVALHAL – Okay, okay, not a player. But he holds the key here, or rather, needs to be holding the correct key to open this tricky, heavy, ancient looking door: motivating his players against an already relegated side.

Every game between now and the end of the season is huge.

Wednesday simply have to beat Rotherham, the most demonstrably bad side the second tier has seen for a number of years.

Carlos has an ever-growing shiver of sharks after his neck. He will not abate their thirst for blood with victory here, but can at least halt the number rising further.

DANNY WARD – Once a £1m player, the former Leeds youth has seen his career stall somewhat over the past three seasons.

The tricky forward was linked with Wednesday in January and will surely leave Rotherham for pastures new this summer.

His nine goals from 34 starts represents a more than respectable tally.

 

 

 

THE BETTING BOX: 5 OF THE BEST

 

BET Wednesday WIN Millers WIN DRAW
Rhodes FGS Wednesday 1-0
BEST ODDS 1/2 8/1 15/4 4/1 13/2
BOOKIES Smarkets

 

HUGH’S VERDICT:

For those without a match ticket, this game is on Sky Sports. Presumably the bosses over there were hoping for a little more on the line. The site TVguide.co.uk has this rated as 9.0/1.0, with rivals Holby City (4.4) and BBC Four’s 1066: A Year To Conquer England (3.3) on at the same time.

Christ, they must be awful.

VERDICT: 1-0 Wednesday, in the mother of all borefests.

All Wednesday.

Hugh
Owls Alive
E-MAIL: owlsalive@gmail.com
Twitter: @OwlsAlive and @hugh_wragg

Images: SWFC, unless stated.


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