PRESS | Pressure off Carlos – or not quite?

PRESS | Pressure off Carlos – or not quite?

Morgan Fox took the hot seat at today’s press conference.

With just fourteen appearances since joining the Owls in January, the Welsh international hasn’t had many opportunities to express himself on or off the pitch.

Tuesday night was a welcome chance to see what the defender is made of.

Today we heard him speak. He’s clearly more comfortable letting his feet do the talking, but the number 6 shared some insights on Bannan, promotion, and Aston Villa.

Fox made the most of his 90 minutes on Tuesday, linking well with Reach and sending in some low, powerful crosses to unsettle the opposition.

Fox looks enthralled with is chat to the press (Image: AG)

Will the ease with which he slotted into the back four cement a place in preference to, say, Pudil?

Despite his lack of first team starts, he talks up the benefits of competition generated by a big squad. “Everyone wants to play every game. I’m no different,” he says.

The back four still looks a way off the impregnable blue and white line of the previous two seasons.

But on Tuesday’s showing, few eyebrows will be raised if Fox trots out at Villa Park on Saturday.

 

Turning point?

 

As we left the ground last weekend, one dad’s voice rang out telling his son how the left back conundrum could be solved. (Something to do with playing an actual left back in that position, I didn’t really listen).

Apart from that, the only sound was of the traffic on Penistone Road.

There was a collective agreement that we’d run out of things to say – in the material world, that is; social media never pauses for contemplation.

Come Tuesday evening, there was a little more spark in the homeward walk.

A bit of chat about whether Our Andy’s Our Jordan’s first league goal since March would open the floodgates. The sly delight that Sheff United had lost.

Relief: Rhodes

And the pleasant surprise that, temporarily, there was just a three-point gap between Wednesday and a top six-spot.

Resigned to mid-table mediocrity one day; back in the land of promotion 72 odd hours later. Gawd, but it’s the hope that kills you.

We look for signs. The new kit is available in the superstore. This is a good omen. But D taxis are still ‘coming soon.’ This will not end well.

Will we look back on a mid-week win against Millwall as the moment the season came good? Or come May will we still be waiting for that D Cab we ordered back in August…

 

We are not alone

 

Post-match, Millwall’s boss, Neil Harris, spoke about the strength of our squad with a mix of respect and envy.

Today, Carlos declares Villa “have the best players in the competition.”

He emphasises he’s talking about quality not monetary value.

CC sees Saturday’s opponents as one of twelve teams who “want direct promotion” – with another two or three outsiders who “play without pressure.”

He doesn’t name Wolves or the Blades, but these are the surprise packages, effectively ‘doing a Wednesday’ as in our first season under Carvalhal.

After year one, “we are not underdogs,” he says.

This is year three. So, what are we now? According to the bookies, the answer is twelfth favourite to go up. Fancy a flutter?

Snodgrass: scored in Villa’s 2-0 win at Deepdale (Birmingham Mail)

If expectations started high in S6, the fans of Reading and Fulham must also have been looking forward to going one better this year. As of Thursday, the Owls are one point and two places above Fulham, five points and six places above Reading. It seems we’ve all three got a dose of the play-off hangover.

Fox adds his name to the list of players who cite the hectic fixture list as an opportunity to rediscover our promo mojo.

With ten games between now and New Year’s Eve, it’s hard not to agree with his assessment that Christmas will be the time to gauge whether it’s fact or fiction.

 

Saturday

 

The first of those ten matches is against Aston Villa on Saturday.

In 2016/17, the three teams newly relegated from the Premiership were tipped as promotion certainties. Newcastle bounced back, Norwich and Villa stayed put.

As predicted in the first press pass of this season, the Villains have now sorted themselves out and adjusted to Championship football under Wednesday’s nemesis, Steve ‘Bernard Cribbens’ Bruce.

Carlos calls them “Quality.”

Carlos looks across Villa Park during our last visit

His usual pre-match shtick – “our opponents have strengths, but we also have strengths” – is toned down today.

They have “a good attack, good constituent parts, a good coach.”

Fox was in the team last time the Owls visited Villa Park.

We arrived in sixth place, five points clear of Fulham in seventh.

The match saw Sasso sent off, Carlos sent to the stands for arguing about it, and Villa take all three points. Oh dear. As the head coach says, “not good memories.”

This time we arrive in fourteenth place, five points off the play-offs.

According to Fox, “We’ll be right up for it… We go into every game to try and win it.”

He singles out Bannan as the player whose fitness and performance levels could provide the fireworks on the return to his old club.

Fox also refers to the Villains as candidates for automatic promotion.

Nobody mentions John Terry.

Going into the international break with one, or three, more points would be the marzipan on Fox’s Christmas cake. The icing comes later.

.OWLS ALIVE circliar yeller SPACE

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Angela

Owls Alive
E-MAIL: admin@owlsalive.com
TWITTER: @OwlsAlive and @ABGalvin

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