Barkley blow ill-timed as the mishaps mount up

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ON the way back from Nottingham, I said to a pal: “I wonder what else there is left to go wrong.”

The answer came a couple of days later when Ross Barkley had to go back to Everton.

It was bound to happen sooner or later but his departure was unwelcome news after an own goal added to the list of Owls mishaps and brought about another defeat.

Wednesday had also learned just before the Forest game that Sunderland were not going to let Connor Wickham go out on loan.

So all in all it was one of those weeks, as Dave Jones set about the difficult task of improving his team and upping their firepower before yesterday’s loan deadline.

Jones has been intending for some time to freshen up the squad; yesterday’s signing of Mamady Sidibe and Jeremy Helan was by no means a knee-jerk reaction.

Failure to take enough of the chances being created has been an obvious shortcoming for weeks.

If Miguel Llera’s header at the City Ground had been at the right end then it would have been just the sort of thing that is wanted from someone in the opposition’s box.

But let us not be too hard on the centre half. Just about all defenders score the occasional og when the ball is flying around in the box.

At least last Saturday’s was not as bad as the bizarre one that came when Wednesday were playing at Leicester in March, 2003.

Paul McLaren rolled a back pass to Paul Evans and the keeper inexpicably let it slip past him and into the net.

It gave midfield man McLaren the unwanted distinction of being the only person to score in a 1-1 draw, for he had put the Owls ahead.

Wednesday suffered an irritating turnaround in that game, and that’s how it was last Saturday.

Jones must be fed up of saying the same thing at press conferences before and after games: if the Owls were more clinical in the attacking third then that would be their salvation.

As he so rightly said, Forest should have been out of it long before they got their lucky break.

As weeks go by without a consistent improvement in Wednesday’s results, the pressure to stitch together a successful run increases.

You always hope that the next game will bring the breakthrough, but the Owls will also have to cope with changes as they face Leicester tomorrow.

Barkley’s quality on the ball and box-to-box energy may be missed; so may Llera’s knack of getting on the end of set-pieces and scoring the occasional goal.

Paul Corry and Rhys McCabe, who currently look the main contenders for Barkley’s midfield role, are young players with attributes of their own.

Chris Lines would certainly be worth a place in the side on his pre-season form; now it is a question of whether he is considered to be ready for Championship football at this early stage of his comeback after a serious groin injury.

Martin Taylor, a centre-back of proven Championship calibre, should be capable of showing that he was not his usual self when he made such an unsteady start to his Wednesday career.