PRESS | The return of the Messiah (or very naughty boy)

PRESS | The return of the Messiah (or very naughty boy)

Daniel Pudil accompanied Jos Luhukay at today’s press conference, the Czech proving himself as straightforward and no-nonsense off the pitch as on.

The left-back was quick to thank his old boss in the aftermath of Carvalhal’s departure and has spoken out about players not “stepping up” being a key factor in Wednesday’s poor season.

In Pudil’s eyes, carrying twelve injuries in a first team squad of thirty-five is bound to have a negative effect, but on the other hand the injury crisis has opened doors for peripheral players to make their mark.

With another teasing reference to some of his team mates not performing well enough when given the chance, he shrugs and says he’d “rather talk about his own performance.”

As he’s brought it up, Pudil himself has had a patchy season.

The number 36 reminds us the gap between his age and his shirt number is shrinking.

While many feel he’s benefited from Luhukay’s regime, he admits he’s feeling the pace, and fans can see he’s not quite regained his touch after absences through injury.

His tackling now too often borders on the agricultural, witness the red card that put paid to any glimmer of a comeback against Birmingham in February.

Lining up with George Boyd on the list of self-declared hares turned tortoises and, like Boyd, he’s looking to see out his career in a role requiring slightly less running.

“I cannot run up and down as much as I used to,” he says.

 

Contract talks

 

Pudil scored his first goal for Wednesday in our 3–1 win over Preston North End in the heady days of 2015-16.

Whether the less energetic role he seeks will be with Wednesday, no-one seems ready to say.

Jos claims there will be no contract talks with young or old until the Owls have secured their place in the Championship.

Clare: his future picture is yet to be finalised

So players like Pudil who were brought in on the promise of a Premiership promotion push are now playing cat and mouse over a contract with League One potential.

And academy products like Sean Clare are waiting to see which side of their bread is being buttered?

Whatever the manager says, surely conversations are well underway behind closed doors, but that’s where Jos is keeping them.

“I talk to the club, not to the media,” he says with a slight smile.

I guess everyone thinks they should be in a better position. But as Jos said before the international break, the table doesn’t lie.

And if everyone thinks we should be somewhere else, why aren’t we?

Pudil is very clear where the buck stops, “We are the players. We can change it, not the manager, not the fans.”

On the back of victory at Elland Road, Pudil says morale is high – “the Leeds win was special.”

Luhukay welcomed the international break.

Three months in and he’s at last had an uninterrupted period of training with a full squad of ‘proffies’ as he calls them. The kids are back in the academy. Goal machine Nuhiu is back from Kosovo, unscathed.

And so we come to a run of five games in fourteen days to test whether victory against our Yorkshire rivals was a one off or the start of a winning streak.

 

Messiah or Very Naughty Boy?

 

The first two of those fixtures come in quick succession over the Easter weekend. Easter.

The time for some to celebrate the Messiah rising from the dead, bringing eternal salvation. But enough of Forestieri.

Oh all right, a little bit more about Forestieri. He’s back.

Welcome back

The cynics say his return is well-timed to attract interest in the summer sales. The devotees say he’ll turn the season round.

Let’s be clear, ‘turning the season round’ in this context means he’ll help Wednesday retain a place in the Championship rather than roll away the stone to the entrance of the Premier League.

How very different from the hopeful days of August, when Nando was going to lead the charge to a third-time lucky promotion under Carvalhal. Then came knee surgery, six months out and now here’s Jos eyeing him up.

Luhukay plays down the prospect of a miraculous resurrection of all the talents on Friday. “We can’t expect he will win everything… [he will] need a long time to reach 100% form.”

It could take a while for him to recapture his best form – Jos

Of course, those of a theological bent will be writing in to remind us that the resurrection was on Easter Monday (Sunderland, you have been warned).

Still the faithful will congregate at 3pm on Good Friday so that they may worship in peace and tranquillity.

 

Friday

 

Preston North End. A cruel reminder of the first match of the season; the first flogging on the road to disappointment; the first signs that top six finishes in the previous two years may have flattered to deceive.

A Wednesday side strong on paper was crucified on match day one.

We hit match day 39 with only four of the starting eleven at Deepdale having clocked up more than 20 Championship appearances this season.

As Pudil (18 + 1 as sub) said today, “I don’t want to talk about injuries, but…”

Pudil: in line to make it 20 appearances this season

He refers to the drop as if he really believes it could happen.Which is better than being complacent but still rather unnerving to hear.

Ah, back to the old days when the end of season was enlivened by the excitement of will we/ won’t we be relegated.

While Fletcher, Wallace, Lee and Clare won’t feature again in 2017-18, Hutchinson, Bannan, Lees and the Messiah / Naughty Boy are back in the frame to face Alex Neil’s men.

With Wednesday needing points and the Lilywhites still in with a shout of a top six finish, this is unlikely to be a polite ‘after you, no after you’ fixture.

Might we pick up three much needed points to build on the thrill of hanging on to a lead at Leeds?

Jos is cautious. Preston “make a good transition from defence to offence… They are dangerous… They play well and will give us a good game.”

Easter is meant to be a symbol of hope, renewal, and new life. (And chocolate, of course, but mainly the other things).

A Good Friday for Wednesday, then? We can hope.

Six points and an Easter egg would be a welcome return for the weekend.


Angela
Owls Alive
E-MAIL: owlsalive@gmail.com
Twitter: @OwlsAlive and @ABGalvin

Images: SWFC, unless stated.


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