Somebody might accuse me of being wise after the event but I did not think Wednesday would win against Charlton. Honest, writes Paul Thompson.
Somebody might accuse me of being wise after the event but I did not think Wednesday would win against Charlton. Honest.
I had it down as a draw, followed by an Addicks replay win on that awful pitch at The Valley.
It was just a hunch. So many people were fancying the Owls to get through and clinch a Sheffield derby.
Maybe a bit of over-confidence crept into some players’ minds, and a few nerves into others’ when the big occasion arrived on Monday.
Throw a nothing-to-lose attitude from Charlton into the mix, as well, and it was recipe for things to go wrong.
The Addicks played with a total lack of inhibition; Wednesday were unusually tentative in the important early stages, and that set the tone of the game,
I don’t think Stuart Gray did anything wrong. I guessed 10 of his starting line-up, having looked at the squad logically and taken into account fitness and tactical issues.
The exception was in midfield where thought Jeremy Helan might get a more central role; otherwise it meant Gary Gardner playing his third game in six days, which he did.
Sam Hutchinson was excellent alongside him at Huddersfield but reason said that he in particular might struggle with a similar workload, in view of his history.
Among the six changes there were two fresh strikers up front, Benik Afobe and Leon Best, in a 4-4-2 that, on paper, looked capable of dealing with Charlton and their similar system.
But you just never know, especially in the FA Cup.
Milan Mandaric was as a dismayed as anybody, He had just flown in from a family base in California, where his wife had not been too well, and he was desperate to watch the game, but did not get the tonic he was looking for.
It is hard to imagine the Owls having a better opportunity to play in a Wembley semi-final, while ever they are outside the Premier League
But in the League the revival has been excellent and the team have shown they can recover from setbacks (post-Bournemouth, post-Derby, for example).
Tomorrow, a repeat of last week’s show at Huddersfield is what is needed to keep the main job on track. Championship survival is paramount.