Comment: How Sheffield Wednesday should line up against Hull City

Owls captain Tom Lees
Owls captain Tom Lees
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Regardless of whether his team win, lose or draw, Jos Luhukay is a calm, grounded figure.

He never gets too high when things are going well or too low when results don’t go their way.

Wednesday midfielder Sam Hutchinson

Wednesday midfielder Sam Hutchinson

And it is just as well Luhukay pays little attention to social media or football pundits.

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His Wednesday side were heavily criticised after their below-par showing at Wigan Athletic. It was a flat, disheartening opening day.

Luhukay lamented their “lack of stability” in defence and will be hoping their disjointed performance was a one off.

Striker Lucas Joao

Striker Lucas Joao

It begs the question: how do Wednesday get back on track as they prepare to face Yorkshire neighbours Hull City in their first home match of the 2018-19 season? How does Luhukay rectify their defensive deficiencies?

Here, are the changes I would make for this weekend’s fixture.

Play Sam Hutchinson as a centre-half

Hutchinson was deployed in an advanced midfield role in pre-season and at the DW Stadium but it doesn’t suit his skill-set. He is not renowned for his creativity or goal-scoring prowess. His combative, battling qualities are better off in a midfield anchor role or at centre-back.

At a time when the Owls are short on experience and recognised cover in defence, it makes sense for Hutchinson to drop back and play there. He is comfortable bringing the ball out from the back and his reading of the game is good.

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Move Tom Lees into the middle in a back three

I would select Hutchinson on the right, start Lees in the middle and play Daniel Pudil on the left. After his unconvincing performance versus Wigan, Joost van Aken should make way.

As for club captain Lees, he has looked happier and more commanding when he has been utilised in the middle of Luhukay’s backline.

Tweak the formation

The onus will be on Wednesday to make most of the running in their own backyard and take the game to Hull.

We all know Luhukay’s favoured system is 3-5-2 but he has occasionally played 3-4-3. It worked reasonably well when they went head to head with champions Wolverhampton Wanderers last season.

So far this summer, the balance of the team has not looked right. A change in formation would enable Luhukay to get another attacker on the pitch and take the weight off Fernando Forestieri. It is worth a go.

Bring Lucas Joao and Steven Fletcher into attack

Joao is fast, frustrating and unpredictable but he made an impact to their forward line after he was introduced around the hour mark last Saturday. He created Foestieri’s goal and gave them some much-needed dynamism. Wednesday have assembled a squad that is not blessed with masses of pace but Joao has it in abundance.

In the absence of the suspended Atdhe Nuhiu, Fletcher is the man to be their focal point up front. The Scot is big, strong and capable of holding the ball up and bringing others into play. His fitness levels are improving all the time so why not play him for an hour and see how he does?

Owls team I would play against Hull - (3-4-3): Dawson; Hutchinson, Lees, Pudil; Palmer, Pelupessy, Bannan, Reach; Forestieri, Joao, Fletcher.

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