PREVIEW | Carlisle -v- Wednesday

PREVIEW | Carlisle -v- Wednesday

It’s been one of those weeks.

Saturday will arrive and many of us will have forgotten that a game is taking place. Many have forgotten that they support a football team at this point, instead believing they frequent a static circus.

There have been many concerns raised online this week which are absolutely worth sharing again. In the days after the New Year, a collection of some of the best Wednesday writing in months surfaced on the internet within 48 hours.

The concerns raised took different viewpoints and are all worth reading: Steve Chu on Kaitren Meire, Steve Walmsley’s open letter to Dejphon Chansiri on War of the Monster Trucks, and our very own piece looking at the tasks at hand for the senior management team.

For a club that has only known – on the face of things at least – continuous improvement since its darkest hour on the High Court steps, our sudden vacant Head Coach’s position and drastic league form represents a major shift in the club’s trajectory.

How bad a position do we find ourselves in?

The league position is precarious, the squad has holes throughout it (even accounting for the full fitness of every player), the finances are a patchwork of short-termism and, the club is undergoing major reconstruction behind the scenes.

Chief among our problems is our form, and with a threadbare squad that is low on confidence, there are few hopes of an immediate turnaround. The usual tried and tested (tired and tested) managers have the lowest odds to make the empty office.

Lee Bullen, happy to admit his own faults and inability to lead this side, is visibly concerned at the task ahead for a new Head Coach.

Another cheery afternoon at Hillsborough

Can we take any comfort that our league position will not alter with Saturday’s result?

Yes, absolutely, this FA Cup tie against Carlisle is a great opportunity for several members of this team to write the wrongs of the Burton debacle.

The more than audible cries of “You’re not fit to wear the shirt!” echoed around an emptying Hillsborough. For the eleven involved, there can be no greater dishonour in the face of the fans.

Saturday, then, gives those players a chance to earn some trust back.

What use is a cup run in a season that has been written off at Christmas? Wednesday are closer to a relegation battle than a fight for the top six, and without immediate improvement in results, that fight against the drop could soon loom in full view.

With the squad creaking as it is, do the club risk more injuries this weekend or in any possible future cup matches? Let’s say this now – a replay would be a disaster.

Have we reached the point with this squad where we can legitimately play our reserves’ reserves?

 

 

The New Years Day horror show may well have been a blessing in disguise.

Sure, you never want to advocate your team losing, but if you’re gonna lose, get twatted at home by a team who themselves are so inept that even at 3-0 up they made simple football look difficult. At least then, for those who haven’t realised it yet, it is clear just how much of a mess Wednesday are in.

It would be much easier to stomach Wednesday’s predicament had the signs not been there.

Now is not the time or place, but despite Chansiri’s deep pockets and clear desire to please everyone, his chairmanship isn’t working to its potential and hasn’t for nearly two years.

Not without fault – Dejphon Chansiri

The Burton game was the result of a multitude of several long and short term failures of the club in the past two years.

Take Glenn Loovens – a Wednesday stalwart now, but unfortunately needed back-up two years ago (never arrived) and then replacing twelve months ago (likewise).

Then there’s Jordan Rhodes – signed quite literally because Wednesday fans clamoured for his arrival since he knocked four goals past us over six years ago.

As a result of his transfer, there’s no money left to strengthen midfield with the kind of player we so obviously needed in the play-off final.

Examples of poor planning and missed opportunities go on, and on, and on, and on.

And now we’re at the stage where we let a Disney white-tailed deer of a wing-back stroll past our entire side to put Burton one up. This was after a missed penalty that came as a result of Jacob Butterfield doing everything is his power to dispel the myth that he’s only capable of a sideways pass:

The comically bad defending continued in the second half with two further goals gifted to Burton through horrendously misplaced passes and a subsequent unwillingness to track back.

Wednesday’s dominance in possession never really bore fruit, apart from two first half instances which should have seen Jordan Rhodes turn crosses from the left home with his head.

This was as bad a performance we’d seen at Hillsborough in many years, you’d probably have to go back to the early Megson days and the patchwork squad he dealt with towards the end of his first half-season.

Lee Bullen nailed it in his post-match chat with the media:

“I’m 100% embarrassed by that performance.

“The goals we lost you wouldn’t see in a school playground.

“The first goal is a joke. For someone to waltz 50 yards with the ball, through four or five players without anyone laying a glove on him is embarrassing.

“The players have let themselves so far down this season and I am absolutely gutted to be sitting here and speaking this way about these players.”

Carlisle lost too on New Years Day, going down 3-1 at Mansfield.

Recognisable names in their ranks include 39 year-old Clint Hill, former Wednesdayites Mike Jones and Hallam Hope, Gary Liddle and Jamie Devitt.

They sit 13th in the League Two table, eight points adrift of the play-offs and a full fourteen clear of the drop zone.

To reach the Third Round, both Oldham and Gillingham were beaten at Brunton Park.

 

 

LAST 5 Burton (H) Brentford (A) Forest (A) Boro (H) Wolves (H)
WEDNESDAY L 0-3 L 0-2 W 3-0 L 1-2 L 0-1

 

LAST 5  Mansfield (A) Coventry (H) Accrington (H) Forest Green (A) Gillingham (H)
BORO L 1-3 L 0-1 W 3-1 W 1-0 W 3-1

 

HEAD 2 HEAD WEDNESDAY WINS UNITED WINS DRAWS
  10 9 8

 

 

LAST MEETING

 

Wednesday 2-1 Carlisle

21 April 2012, Hillsborough, Att: 21, 934

A match remembered for one moment.

Three weeks before it happened across the Pennines, we had our own little AGUEROOOOOOOOO moment in Yorkshire.

The Antonio goal in the twenty-first minute of added time, and the celebrations that followed it, will live long in the memory.

With United having lost down at MK Dons, the gap was closed to just a single point, which Wednesday would make up over the following weekend down at Brentford.

 

 

BULLEN’S BARMY ARMY

 

Not one first choice player is fit.

Most of the second choices are injured.

Of those left, who do we protect for our league season and who will have to start?

Lee Bullen has hinted that a strong line-up will take to the field at Brunton Park.

WILDSMITH

PALMER

van AKEN

PUDIL

FOX

MATIAS

ABDI

JONES

REACH

JOAO

RHODES

KEY PLAYERS

 

WEDNESDAY – All sidelined.

CARLISLE – Reggie Lambe – Enjoying a free role behind Carlisle’s one or two forwards, the pacey attacking midfielder has picked up six league goals already this season.

 

 

THE BETTING BOX: 5 OF THE BEST

 

BET Wednesday WIN Carlisle WIN DRAW
BTTS Carlisle 2-1
BEST ODDS 97/100 10/3 53/20 4/5 14/1
BOOKIES William Hill

 

HUGH’S VERDICT:

Well, I’ve just looked back at some past entries for this section, and by Christ, they were optimistic.

Hopes for victory against Middlesbrough. Hopes for victory against Wolves. What was I thinking?

Optimism and the New Year should go hand in hand, but until the first steps are taken to right the big mess that Wednesday find themselves in, looking ahead positively is fairly difficult.

VERDICT – 5-0 Wednesday. Oh, what the hell, it’s never right anyway.

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

Images: SWFC, unless stated. Line up images: Getty.


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