Sheffield Weds Preview - Away, 13th Sept
If all doesn`t go so well for Sheffield Wednesday this season, the can at least point to their title of being the first Championship leaders of the season - not that that will stand up for much in the grand scheme of things. Brian Laws has been at Wednesday now for a couple of seasons, it`s time to start bringing home the bacon after a couple of years relegation fighting.
If the opening day thumping of Burnley was anything to go by, then maybe Owl`s fans can start to look back towards the Premier League, something they haven`t done since the beginning of the century. Like so many other Coca Cola League sides, Wednesday have their history hovering over them, their ground an ever-present remainder of past greats and historic years. It`s time to deliver for the blue half of Sheffield and this season they`re equipped to do it.
Last year saw Brian Laws bring in several loan players from Premier League sides and perhaps without their influence it would`ve been back to the doldrums of League One for the Wednesdayites. Graham Kavanagh proved a pivotal engine in the midfield and this season, it`s the turn of young Jimmy Smith captured from Chelsea to re-create that energy and creativity in the centre. Having already gained Football League experience at both Queens Park Rangers and Norwich City, the youngster will be looking for another solid season before returning to Stamford Bridge. A cultured passer with good vision, Smith will also chip in with goals from the midfield too.
Also joining on loan is Tony McMahon. A relative unknown in the professional ranks, McMahon has moved from Prem boys Middlesbrough`s academy. And, if fellow academy graduate Adam Johnson is anything to go by, then the young full back might be a bit of rough diamond. To prove his worth though, he will have to compete with Frankie Simek for a first team spot. American cap Simek was signed a few years back from Arsenal where he failed to break into the first team setup regularly. Signed on a free, he`s proven a more than handy acquisition at right full back.
The Owls only other Summer capture comes in the form of James O`Connor who joined after the expiry of his Burnley contract. Ironic therefore his new side started the season thrashing the Clarets 4-1. Whether it turns out to be a good career move will largely be determined by his first team involvement after a frustrating end to his Burnley career in the stands.
One man to have found himself a settled place at Hillsborough is Deon Burton. Signed from Rotherham after touring the country with several clubs, the Jamaican hitman has struck 23 in 77 league starts since joining for a snip of £110,000 in January 2006. Up top with Burton is likely to be Akpo Sodje brother to four other Sodje`s in football. Signed by Laws last season for 300k, Sodje has proved his worth with 9 in just 17 injury-restricted starts. Indeed, his entire football record reads started 97, scored 38. Though neither striker carries any real pace, Marcus Tudgay, a former Derby County protégée provides that and could start on the wide right of midfield. However, Jermaine Johnson will challenge him for that berth.
On the other side, and also possessing pace is Etienne Esajas who after a dormant first season got his name amongst the headlines with two excellent goals against Rotherham in the cup and one four days later in the defeat by Wolves.
Since the drubbing of Burnley on day one, Sheffield Wednesday haven`t notched a win in the league nor league cup. We don`t want Watford to become their only other scalp this season so let`s get behind the boys!
Poom; Doyley, Bromby, DeMerit (c), Harley; Williamson, Eustace, O`Toole; Smith, Priskin and McAnuff.
Next Fixture: Plymouth Home
Grant; Simek, McMahon, Wood (c), Spurr; Johnson, Smith, O`Connor, Esajas; Burton and Sodje.
Next Fixture: Reading Away
Prediction: Sheffield Wednesday 0-1 Watford
Come on you 'Ornsss!