Alan Biggs at Large: New boss Jos Luhukay can be Sheffield Wednesday's trump card in Steel City Derby

Jos Luhukay is the curveball factor at Bramall Lane this Friday. If Sheffield Wednesday fans, and maybe even players, can't fully know what to expect from the Owls new boss then neither, for sure, can Sheffield United.

Wednesday, 10th January 2018, 9:23 pm
Updated Wednesday, 10th January 2018, 9:25 pm
9 Jan 2018..... Sheffield Wednesday FC formally introduce their new manager Jos Luhukay>picture Scott Merrylees

Without this intriguing added element it would have been hard for any neutral to look beyond the likelihood of a home win and a steel city double for the red half of Sheffield. It’s a potential balancing ingredient, make no mistake.

New managers often draw something extra from struggling teams. And few teams have more players with a point to prove than the Owls right now.

9 Jan 2018..... Sheffield Wednesday FC formally introduce their new manager Jos Luhukay>picture Scott Merrylees

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Luhukay’s approach and methods – and how players respond to him – will keep everyone around Hillsborough guessing for a while, let alone for one match.

But the buzz words of his first few days – “discipline” and “mentality” – offer a big clue and arguably both have been lacking for too long at S6.

And yet if there’s a reason still not to back against the Blades, it’s that Chris Wilder rarely, if ever, bows to the opposition.

He always aims to impose the strengths of his side and looks to shape the contest his way, not bend to the other team.

9 Jan 2018..... Sheffield Wednesday FC formally introduce their new manager Jos Luhukay>picture Scott Merrylees

That’s why I believe there is one particular overriding challenge for Luhukay’s Wednesday to meet. It can be summed up by another word. Intensity.

Intensity from every player. It’s what Wednesday have to find tomorrow. Because one thing you can guarantee – it’ll be there in every man jack of Wilder’s United. And it’s this driving mentality, more than any other factor, that will set the tone.

But let’s separate this from the word “trying.” Any suggestion that some Wednesday players weren’t doing this at Hillsborough in September is utter nonsense in my view.

It’s the most serious charge you can level at any professional and, while it can look sometimes like players are going through the motions, there is no way at any conscious level that anyone is guilty of this, especially in a derby.

Nor will effort be wanting in this one. It’s more about how it is pitched.

About players winning battles and setting examples to others; about leaders on the pitch; about courage on the ball; about having the confidence and conviction to make something happen; about not fearing the consequences of trying something that doesn’t work; about playing on the front foot.

That is why United won 4-2 at Hillsborough. Not enough Wednesday players did any or all of those things.

And then it’s about the togetherness of the unit, another reason for that result unfolding.

Yes, David Brooks’ brilliance set the tone early on, Mark Duffy scored a great goal at a crucial stage and Leon Clarke struck a double.

But it was the team mind set behind it all that was crucial.

This is what Wednesday would have to match and more at the Lane to produce a result other than the one most outsiders are bound to expect.