PRESS | Dawson ready to “dump Carlos out the Cup!”

PRESS | Dawson ready to “dump Carlos out the Cup!”

Cameron Dawson joined Jos Luhukay today to face the press ahead of Tuesday’s trip to South Wales.

Dawson is a glass half-full sort of guy. His manager less so.

The young keeper talks about “the feel-good factor” and an FA Cup run breeding confidence. Luhukay is still gazing into the half-emptiness of his weekend.

In a mark of our reduced circumstances and expectations, Saturday’s loss against Aston Villa is being described in positive terms by many fans.

The chit chat as we left the ground was of Sean Clare’s performance, Adam Reach’s leadership, the odd grumble about why Jos hadn’t used any subs and, of course, the referee.

The man in black – or on this occasion claret – took a pasting during and after the game.

He was even wearing our opponents’ colours! Which is obviously what you would do if you were up to some cloak and dagger monkey work.

The good things about Saturday included the buzz from a 28,000 crowd, and the scoreboard before Glen Whelan knocked in the inevitable goal-by-a-former-player for Villa’s equaliser.

I wonder if the FA would consider a match equivalent to ‘cash out’ bets?

Each manager could have say five games a season where they can call time before the final whistle and take the result as it stands. If Jos had held up his joker on the touchline at 66 minutes we’d have moved up a couple of places in the table and confirmed his belief that Wednesday perform well against top six sides.

People laughed when Jimmy Hill first suggested three points for a win. Just saying.


Honest appraisal


Jos: strikers could have done better

Losing a 2-1 lead and going on to a 2-4 defeat has the Owls teetering on the edge of a relegation fight. And it was all the ref’s fault, wasn’t it?

No. Jos wasn’t buying the “alibi” of blaming the officials.

In a marked difference to his predecessor’s protective approach, JL shared a matter-of-fact appraisal of his team’s weaknesses. Dropping three points was entirely down to our players.

The strikers weren’t let off the hook – “We had good chances to go further ahead before half time… We had the best chances but at the end you must score… Disappointing.”

Nor was the defence – failing to “control and clear the situation” at the set pieces that led to Villa’s goals. “Frustrating.”

Even the lad we were all raving about post-match was given a reality check on his performance.

In his manager’s eyes, Sean Clare has a lot to learn.

Yes, he scored a goal but “it was his man who scored [Villa’s] third goal… He must fight stronger [in defence].”

“We had the opportunity to win and we have not done that,” he says. “It hurts today from Saturday.”

From a fans point of view, Saturday provided the sort of energetic, attacking and even entertaining display we haven’t seen much of this season.

But Jos is paid to look at the detail, spot the faults and fix them. He doesn’t have to wait long for his next opportunity.




After that first FA Cup stalemate against Swansea, Carlos suggested the managers should be given an option to go straight to penalties rather than go to a replay.

There’s possibly more chance of that being adopted than the ‘cash out when you’re winning’ idea. In the meantime, the rule is you play again…

Does the prospect of a home quarter final against Tottenham (or Rochdale) outweigh the focus on league survival?

Given both clubs are flirting with relegation, Jos and Carlos will be facing similar questions and internal dialogues about how much importance to give Tuesday’s tie.

Wish you were (anywhere but) here?

Jos dismisses suggestions the Cup may be a distraction, without much conviction.

Three times he has the chance to make an unqualified statement, two times he fluffs it. At the third attempt he just seems to have had enough.

First pass. Cup game observations followed by “but the focus is on Saturday at Bristol City.” Whoops. Have another go.

Second shot. “We have a very good eye on tomorrow [pause] but it is not the same as the Championship.” Ok. Don’t forget ‘the magic of the Cup’ and all that. Let’s have one more try.

Third and final effort. “We [try to win] every game, so why would we not do that tomorrow?”

Luhukay’s true intent will be clearer when the team is announced.


A big opportunity


Meanwhile, if you’re looking for some rattle and scarf mojo, Cameron Dawson is your man.

Dawson – hoping to repeat his clean sheet performance from the first leg

The youngster who kept three clean sheets (and let in one fluke) in the previous rounds is definitely up for the Cup. “The chance of being in the FA Cup quarter finals means a lot,” he says, describing the cup run as “a nice distraction.”

Displaying admirable loyalty to his former boss, Cammy notes he will always be grateful to Carvalhal for showing confidence in him and giving him his debut.

But he adds with a grin, it would be good to “dump Carlos out of the Cup!”

Will his new manager enhance this prospect by fielding his strongest eleven, or revert to the Millwall Arrangement?

Either way, let’s hope the Owls travelling back from the Liberty Stadium on a snowy, sub-zero February night will be sharing Dawson’s sunny outlook.

With three crucial league games coming up in quick succession, a morale boosting performance wouldn’t go amiss.

Owls Alive
Twitter: @OwlsAlive and @ABGalvin

Images: SWFC, unless stated.

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