Comment: It is time words and action were brought into alignment at Sheffield Wednesday

When watching this current Sheffield Wednesday side I find myself with a tremendous amount of conflicting thoughts.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 20th December 2017, 4:45 am
Carlos Carvalhal
Carlos Carvalhal

Whether that be the injury situation – So many players are unavailable. But so much money has been spent to build a squad with depth. But you aren’t going to be as good without Barry Bannan and Kieran Lee. Ah, but a Butterfield-Jones combination in midfield ought to be good enough to get the job done.

Or there is the style of play – I can’t believe supporters are booing them for keeping the ball. But they have just passed it backwards again and they’re still not over the half way line. But the opposition can’t hurt them if they maintain possession. But you have to attack to win.

Dejphon Chansiri

Conflicting thoughts.

As I watched the 1-0 defeat to Wolves on Friday night, I was both impressed and dismayed. Almost in equal measure.

Wednesday showed excellent composure to keep the ball for long periods, which helped frustrate and stifle a Wolves side that has been like a juggernaut careering through the Championship.

Indeed, they knew if they kept the ball then they could not be hurt.

Former Owls head coach Stuart Gray

But then comes the question: is this not a Wednesday side whose one and only goal this season is promotion to the Premier League?

Are they not already a considerable distance behind in the race for the top six, nevermind the top two?

While going gung-ho against Wolves would be inadvisable, getting something from each and every game is essential if Wednesday are to achieve their goal.

And it is not as if that sort of performance is reserved only for the division’s best teams.

Dejphon Chansiri

After the game I tweeted: “Tonight was a performance against a top team from #swfc that would have been praised during the Stuart Gray era - a degree of valiance and control. Unfortunately, this isn’t the Stuart Gray era.”

Friday night’s performance felt very much like one from Gray’s time in charge of Wednesday.

Hard-working, determined, valiant, organised. It was through these things that Gray’s Owls side arguably over-achieved in the Championship.

But those were completely different times for Sheffield Wednesday.

Former Owls head coach Stuart Gray

Gray did not have the resources or the talent pool to call upon that his successor Carlos Carvalhal has at his disposal.

For me, this is the nub of the issue as to why the ‘think of where we’ve come from’ argument falls flat on its face.

The Gray’s side is even being mentioned shows that Wednesday are wide of the mark in their current state.

Whether its in arguments over matter on or off the pitch, I’ve seen some supporters suggest their fellow Wednesdayites should be grateful for what they have rather than moaning about what has yet to be achieved.

I’m sure all fans will be appreciative that the future of the club is not built on the rocky ground it was before Milan Mandaric arrived and that they’re not looking over their shoulders for the next winding-up order being issued.

But the move away from rocky ground to rich green pastures changed everything.

Expectations are rightly raised and show no signs of slowing. Talk of the Premier League started on Dejphon Chansiri’s first introduction and continues now with Carvalhal’s repeated insistence they can win promotion this season.

In short, Wednesday should not be 20 points off automatic promotion with the half way point of the season fast approaching.

Valiance and organisation are not enough any more – which you would like to think is the reason why Gray was not deemed the right man to take them to the promised land.

It will take that quality, ruthlessness and x-factor – all of which they are currently lacking.

But the main problem right now is the very presence of those conflicting thoughts about this team.

Barring a complete massacre, injuries should not matter as much as they do or we are repeatedly told they do.

And there should be no questions over the style of play. It should be clear what is being attempted by any team with intent to reach the top.

There is a question that can be rightfully asked and that is where is Sheffield Wednesday going?

Right now words are saying one thing and actions another.

And there comes the conflict.