Owls are good in the air, so now comes the flair

Top form: Danny Batth has earned praise for his defending.
Top form: Danny Batth has earned praise for his defending.
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GARY Megson is looking for the defensive sturdiness shown by his team at Dagenham to be the launchpad for improved performances at home.

He was delighted with the aerial ability of centre-halves Danny Batth and Rob Jones, plus the way Joey O’Brien played as a screen in front of the back four, and the battling of the entire side against awkward opposition.

But now the Owls boss wants to see additional creative flair - especially with four of the next five games being at Hillsborough.

He is also faced with a dilemma - whether to stick with the 4-5-1 formation that has brought away results, or use 4-4-2 even though this not been successful whenever it has been employed in recent months.

“Defensively, every one of them was very good on Saturday,” he said. “There were things we didn’t do well enough: we didn’t get out to support Gary Madine quickly enough. Yes we looked solid, but we didn’t create a great deal.

“The quandary I have is: do we go back to a formation [4-4-2] where I do think we’ll create a bit more, yet we haven’t won in the last 16 games while doing so?”

Megson will make his decision based on the current form of players, and he is suggesting that, sooner of later, he believes the squad should have the capacity to play 4-4-2 successfully.

“I hope the few players we have brought in on loan make an impact and let us go back to the formation we want to do. I hope the penny drops with the players about workrate and tempo.”

Megson believes that the Owls can learn from the example of Huddersfield, who beat Notts County 3-0 on Sunday: “I watched Huddersfield. Arguably we have a better team; I’m sure Lee Clark would say differently, as the table shows they’re the better team.

“The only thing they do better than us is that they run and play at tempo. They really do get about the game.

“The slower football is played, the easier it is for the opposition to play against it.

“There’s a myth that the Premier is slow. It isn’t; it’s way faster. It just looks slower because the touch is a lot better and the ball is not changing hands so much.”

Megson says that Dagenham boss John Still told him the Owls were the best team seen at the Daggers’ ground this season.

“We were strong. He knew how difficult they had made it for us, but they didn’t have a shot [in open play]; they had 12 corners and only got their head on one.

“We have to make sure that’s a platform for our players to get on the ball. We have to get out better and keep possession; we’re sloppy at times in the other team’s half.”