PREVIEW | Wednesday -v- Carlisle

PREVIEW | Wednesday -v- Carlisle

Friday night restored a little pride to the support of Sheffield Wednesday Football Club.

Jos Luhukay oversaw a battling, organised performance during his first match in charge. The entire ‘feel’ of the Wednesday performance was lifted.

The new manager had evidently had an effect on the training pitch.

The brand new 3-5-2 kept shape throughout; players stuck to their individual roles with aplomb.

I’d be confident in betting that a Wednesday defence has not successfully caught the opposition offside on as many occasions as it did on Friday.

Let’s not forget that alongside a new shape, our entire line-up – barring Adam Reach – was made up of second or third choices. The seamless change to 4-4-1 after the Loovens dismissal was excellent: Wednesday looked equally comfortable.

Let’s revisit some moments we enjoyed.

Liam Palmer clattering Mark Duffy in the first half,  a majestic challenge that was somehow deemed to be a foul; Ross Wallace’s almighty shithousery – give him the keys to the city immediately; Atdhe Nuhiu taking to the field and immediately taking a yellow card for an agricultural forward’s slide tackle; the general upset caused to Sheffield United Football Club because the Wednesday fans had the temerity to ‘celebrate’ a draw.

The Owls received a good reception

United – despite Wednesday’s improvement – were the better and more cohesive side: they posed more of a threat. Which makes our celebration of the draw all the sweeter.

I genuinely can’t imagine enjoying a 0-0 draw – comfortably the worst televised game of the season so far, by the way – as much as I did.

Tuesday night presents an entirely different challenge for Jos Luhukay.

As much as Wednesday fans breathed a collective sign of relief after Friday, and despite the fact that the new man should be left to organise this side until the end of the season at the very least, there will be a portion of Wednesdayites only happy if Carlisle are comfortably dispatched.

This FA Cup replay will allow us to inspect the more attacking nature of Luhukay’s new systems and training drills.

I hope that a few Middlewood Road youngsters are incorporated into the starting line-up. Sean Clare is cup-tied, but Ashley Baker and Jordan Thorniley – both benched in recent games, are available. Matt Penney and Connor O’Grady, involved before with the first team, are also available.



The United draw did make it, uncomfortably, four consecutive games without scoring for Wednesday.

Ross Wallace worked himself a lovely opening which was well-saved after a deflection by Simon Moore, who also kept out a looping long-range volley from Adam Reach.

Rhodes: not happening for him

Jordan Rhodes was once again frustratingly anonymous: his story at Wednesday is one of complete and total failure:  by the team who recommended his signing, to the fees we spent and will continue to spend, to the coaches who failed to play to his waning strengths.

His long walk off the Bramall Lane pitch – meekly applauding the Wednesday fans, while thousands of home attendees screamed about a ‘waste of money’ – felt like we’ve finally all reached a point in realising it will never work for him at Hillsborough. Which is very sad indeed.

Sean Clare was trusted to marshal the right flank ahead of Liam Palmer as Wednesday looked to keep United out in a frantic final few moments; hopefully this is an early Luhukay’s commitment to promoting young players within the senior set-up.

Lucas Joao was impressive, holding on to the ball well, offering a cute trick and turn, he helped stretch the game when United were on top in the first half. His two meaningful efforts on goal were of no danger to Moore, but this was another encouraging performance as he looks to reclaim a more permanent place in the side.

Carlisle followed up their draw with Wednesday with a routine 1-0 home win over lowly Crewe Alexandra.

Chances came and went for both sides during the first half, with Alex making most of the running.

Carlisle turned the screw during the second period, with Sam Cosgrove – fresh from signing a new contract with the Cumbria club – netting the winner after having an earlier effort ruled out for offside.

The win leaves Carlisle with 37 points after 27 games, six points and seven places off of an unlikely play-off spot.



LAST 5 United (A) Carlisle (A) Burton (H) Brentford (A) Forest (A)
WEDNESDAY D 0-0 D 0-0 L 0-3 L 0-2 W 3-0


LAST 5  Crewe (H) Wednesday (H) Mansfield (A) Coventry (H) Accrington (H)
BORO W 1-0 D 0-0 L 1-3 L 0-1 W 3-1


  10 8 10





Carlisle 0-0 Wednesday

6th January, Brunton Park, Att: 7, 793

Jos had been announced as Wednesday’s new manager but it was Lee Bullen who took charge for the final time last Saturday.

After Atdhe Nuhiu looped a header on to the bar early in the first half, Wednesday proceeded methodically and with little positive thrust.

Clint Hill, at the sprightly young age of 39, marshaled his United defence well, nullifying any threat from the Owls defence.

Chances were at a premium for both sides, Lucas Joao came close for the Owls during the second period, the home side had an effort ruled out for offside.

All in all, as Tom reported in his ramble, there was little of any encouragement for Jos Luhukay to document ahead of his first full week of training.





Fernando Forestieri will be out for a further two months, despite a picture surfacing of him training in Wednesday gear on his social media channels. Having been absent since August, his return will be managed slowly.

Joe Wildsmith should continue in goal after a stellar showing against United.

Glenn Loovens in suspended after his clumsy red card at the Lane, meaning a back three is unlikely on Tuesday night.

The back four that finished the derby will continue, with a few changes in midfield and up front likely.

Who would bet against one of the youngsters being thrown in from the start.















JACOB BUTTERFIELD – If he plays. Obviously a talented player, Butterfield has the unfortunate tag of being the needless replacement for a fans’ sweetheart in Sam Winnall.

And while Winnall does the business for Derby, Butterfield cannot replicate the success of the better, more rounded players in Barry Bannan and Kieran Lee in the Wednesday midfield.

I feel sorry for him in some respects, he’s battling against a majority of people who decided he wasn’t good enough before he kicked a ball, and since then he’s sporadically found himself in a team that has crumbled around him.

Needless to say, his performance against Burton was a shocker, I’m sure the player himself would freely admit it.

Butterfield has an opportunity – like the rest of his team – under new management to show us what he can do with the ball at his feet. I’m sure we’d all like to see a little more expression, if one or two fewer passes to Glenn Loovens (thankfully absent on this occasion).

REGGIE LAMB – My pick for the first leg, he was fairly tricky against an immobile but relatively comfortable blue and white back four.





BET Wednesday WIN Carlisle WIN DRAW
Draw/Wednesday HT/FT Nuhiu FGS
BEST ODDS 4/7 28/5 7/2 15/4 6/1


HUGH’S VERDICT – Wednesday to labour to a 1-0 win.

Owls Alive
Twitter: @OwlsAlive and @hugh_wragg

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

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