Sheffield Wednesday: Why Owls will make a big Impact at Alfreton

John McDermott
John McDermott
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The playing surface at the Impact Arena will very much be to Sheffield Wednesday’s liking, according to Alfreton Town manager John McDermott.

After over a week of honing their craft on the training ground, the Owls face the non league side in their opening pre-season friendly tonight, kick-off 7:30pm.

John McDermott playing for Grimsby against Crewe in August 2001

John McDermott playing for Grimsby against Crewe in August 2001

McDermott told The Star: “We have one of the best pitches, if not the best, in our league. It is a beautiful playing surface and I’m sure Sheffield Wednesday will enjoy it.

“It’s a surface we can play football on and that’s what I want to do.

“I want to play good football and see my team try and play the game in the right way with the ball on the deck. I don’t want to be watching a boring team.”

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It is the third year on the bounce Wednesday have kicked off their pre-season fixtures with a trip to Alfreton. The last two encounters have both finished one apiece.

McDermott, who played a record-breaking 647 matches in a one-club career at Grimsby over 20 years, said: “It is amazing to have such a good link with a club of the size and calibre of Sheffield Wednesday. It is fantastic.

“We can’t thank Wednesday enough for agreeing to the fixture. You have to take your hat off to them and credit both clubs for making it happen. “It is a big game for the players. It will be good experience for them.

“We don’t play against teams like Wednesday every week.

“We will probably end up conceding a lot of possession. They will have a lot of the ball with the quality players they have got.

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“We have to be organised and disciplined as a team. We have to show them into certain areas of the park and make sure we defend properly as a unit.

“When the ball gets turned over, I want to see us be brave with it. We might not have a lot of the ball but when we do have it we must look to hurt them.”

McDermott left his position as director of football at Cleethorpes Town to become the Reds boss less than two months ago.

His first match in charge ended in disappointment as Alfreton fell to a 2-1 home defeat against Nottingham Forest’s Under-23s last weekend.

“Games against teams like Forest and Wednesday are perfect for us,” said McDermott. “We don’t want to be playing games where we are winning four or five nil.

“What’s the point in that? You are not going to learn anything.

“I’m going to learn a lot about my players with and without the ball tonight. We are looking forward to it and I’m really excited at playing against Wednesday.”

The Owls are set to be backed by a big following at Alfreton. Tickets are priced at £10 adults, £5 concessions and £2 for Under 16s.

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