PREVIEW | Wednesday -v- Ipswich Town

PREVIEW | Wednesday -v- Ipswich Town

Since the victory over Derby County – a victory and performance that we hoped would prove to be a turning point – Wednesday have lurched from crisis to crisis.

Four defeats and a 0-0 draw with Swansea followed the victory over the Rams, Wednesday have conceded ten goals in our last three defeats.

Two away non-performances have sandwiched a spirited effort against Villa.

Costly basic errors continue to the thwart the team.

A further slide down the Championship table is only averted due to the sheer ineptitude of other sides around us.

Back to on-field issues shortly, but first, a look at the news that has compounded the three defeats: the club’s financial statements for last season were released on Friday.

Although many are happy to point out that Wednesday’s minus figures are relatively steady compared to some rivals, it is now wholly apparent that major restructuring is needed – who knew?! – and that the club is absolutely reliant on the continued life-support of the chairman.

The balance sheets make for grim reading. Losses total £20.7m and net debt has risen to a Lee Strafford-era £36m. Fortunately, this debt is exclusively owed to Dejphon Chansiri, rather than the Co-Op bank who were of course the major creditor in the good old days.

There is no sugar coating the fact that the club owes Chansiri a substantial amount of money and he is entitled to call receipt of it in as little as twelve months time.

Until then, and taking the chairman’s continued financial support for granted, the club is in serious danger of flouting the Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules set by the EFL.

Revenues are at an all time high: turnover has reached £23.4m, although this is dwarfed by the cumulative annual salary of £29.3m, meaning the club are spending 126% of turnover on a £524,000 per week wage bill.

Wednesday’s losses for the past two seasons total £30.4m, with FFP stipulating that losses of no more than £39m can be made over a three-year period.

With many of our highest earning players contracted beyond the end of this season, serious work has to be done in order to ensure that the club beats the FFP target.

This, naturally, means player sales. However, on-field results and our catastrophic injury list will significantly reduce transfer values.

Dispensable assets?

Aside of Reach, Bannan and Hooper – who we cannot afford to lose – who would command a significant fee? Lees, Lee, Fletcher, Forestieri, Winnall and Westwood have all suffered long-term injuries, two are the wrong side of 30.

There is one FFP loop-hole, that money poured into long-term club investments and developments (academies, stadia, community initiatives) is discounted from losses, although the exact discount figure remains sketchy.

More detailed analyses of the accounts can be found on The Price of Football, The Swiss Ramble, and our very own Peter’s Twitter account, where his own in-depth financial analysis has allowed him to suggest some squad modifications for next season that will keep Wednesday in line with FFP.

A change in attitude?
(Image: Daily Mail)

In short, significant changes are on the way. We’ve seen a gentle shift in our recruitment in the past twelve months: frees (Boyd) and cheap alternatives (Pelupessy, Fox).

Expect further increases to ticket prices as the club readies itself for falling attendances next season.

Our summer business will not inspire, unless Chansiri really gambles, a-la-Leicester City, who have just paid an out-of-court settlement to the EFL for £3.1m as a result of their own flouting of FFP in 2013-14. Such a gamble on the part of the chairman would be wholly inadvisable.



Returning to on-field concerns. Go and flick the kettle on. Or pour a gin.

The whole club is in limbo, waiting for our best players to return to aid in the fight against relegation.

Seven teams sit below Wednesday in the Championship table, for now.

Only Reading (7), Burton and Sunderland (both 9) have fewer points than Wednesday since Christmas (10).

Four teams have scored fewer over the same period – three sit below Wednesday, the other is our Tuesday opponent.

Only Sunderland and Birmingham – again both below Wednesday – have conceded more.

Barring any drastic changes in form to any more than three of the sides in 18th or below, the club will be saved by virtue of being less shite than others.

The Championship form table –

That said, the January draws quickly became February defeats. Even for this mostly young, inexperienced eleven, improvements have to be made. Some of the Wednesday defending on Saturday could have been lifted from It’s A Knockout.

City moved the ball around confidently, expressively, and directly. The porous Wednesday back-line simply rolled out the red carpet.

Wednesday had chances: Nuhiu should have hit the target twice while Lucas Joao fired wide after creating himself an opening.

Reid took his tally to 19 for the season [Image: Daily Mail]

By the time the Wednesday chances came, Bristol had us dead and buried. Josh Brownhill added a third to Bobby Reid’s first half brace.

Joey Pelupessy’s foul on Marlon Pack in the box saw Reid tuck the ball home from the spot to seal a memorable hat-trick.

Positives? A return for Tom Lees.

Ipswich’s last game was a 1-0 win at Deepdale on February 24th, their home fixture against Hull this Saturday was postponed.

This was far from classic McCarthy in the early stages, his Ipswich side took the game to a Preston side whose exhaustion was lamented by Alex Neil post-match.

Dangerous winger Mustapha Carayol netted his first goal for Ipswich since a January move from Forest, and from that point on Mad Mick’s Men battened down the hatches.

“We defended really well,” McCarthy said. I bet they did.



LAST 5 Bristol C. (A) Swansea (A) Villa (H) Millwall (A) Swansea (H)
WEDNESDAY L 0-4 L 0-2 L 2-4 L 1-2 D 0-0


LAST 5  Preston (A) Cardiff (H) Norwich (A) Burton (H) Sunderland (A)
IPSWICH W 1-0 L 0-1 D 1-1 D 0-0 W 2-0


  18 19 13





Ipswich 2-2 Wednesday

22nd November 2017, Portman Road, Att: 15, 702

Wednesday came from behind twice to secure a point.

Glenn Loovens was lucky to escape an early red card for a high tackle on David McGoldrick, the only talking point from an otherwise quiet first half.

Ipswich capitalised on some poor Wednesday marking to take the lead through Joe Garner, only for former Norwich man Hooper to silence the home crowd as he equalised from the penalty spot just after the hour.

Town retook the lead again thanks to Martyn Waghorn, and Atdhe Nuhiu sent the travelling few home happy after nodding in at the back post in the 95th minute to secure a point.

The result left Wednesday in 11th, four points off the play-off places. Ha.




Daniel Pudil, Frederico Venancio and Lucas Joao are all fresh injury concerns ahead of this one and will face a late check.

Tom Lees returned to the first team with a second-half outing at Ashton Gate, he is likely to be included from the start against Ipswich, notwithstanding any further injury concerns.

Almen Abdi also made a comeback on Saturday but will presumably have suffered a further six injuries in the meantime.

Jordan Rhodes sat on the bench for the duration against Bristol City and will likely deputise for Lucas Joao should their be any concerns over the Portuguese.

Jack Hunt will miss out again with Liam Palmer filling in the right wing-back spot.














TOM LEES – Returns to a side who are shipping goals for fun, in a shape he is unfamiliar with.

Wednesday need defensive solidity and leadership at the back as a matter of urgency.

Lees is comfortably our strongest defender despite suffering (pre-injury) his worst run of form in Sheffield.

Let’s hope that this freshly fit Lees is more akin to the defensive rock that enjoyed three record breaking seasons in blue and white.

His injury, and return, seems to have been well-managed. Let’s hope he’s fully over it and hasn’t been returned to action too soon.





BET Wednesday WIN Ipswich WIN DRAW
0-0 Nuhiu anytime
BEST ODDS 7/5 12/5 23/10 81/10 3/1

HUGH’S VERDICT – It’s difficult to be positive after you’d suffered three consecutive league defeats and been dumped out the cup off the back of a limp performance.

Wednesday created two lovely goals against Villa but since then have looked largely toothless with the ball. The lack  of confidence a number of players are showing in their own ability is frightening.

Big Mick will play on this and the Hillsborough crowd and exploit any early gaps. Jos Luhukay has promised that Wednesday will go for it in the early exchanges – is he posturing or does he really intend to throw men forward?

I would suggest that, like the Villa game, Wednesday need to ascertain a foothold first.

Let’s try and not concede four goals though, eh?

Give the team plenty of backing. They’ll need it.

Owls Alive
Twitter: @OwlsAlive and @hugh_wragg

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

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