Dom Howson's Sheffield Wednesday column: Why Owls fans should cut Jos Luhukay some slack

There are some Wednesdayites who still need convincing Jos Luhukay is the right man to take the club forward.

Thursday, 19th April 2018, 8:38 pm
Updated Thursday, 19th April 2018, 8:46 pm
Owls boss Jos Luhukay

The Dutchman may have steered the Owls away clear of relegation trouble but their performances and results have been inconsistent and uninspiring.

It is fair to say Luhukay has not helped himself with a few of his team selections and tactical decisions. Playing no striker at Millwall was a huge error in judgement and so was switching to a back four against Queens Park Rangers. He should have played Lucas Joao from the start in the FA Cup fifth round tie at home to Swansea City. I could reel off other examples.

Owls boss Jos Luhukay

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But fans should cut Luhukay some slack. His hands have been significantly tied over the last couple of months by their lengthy injury list. He is still waiting to see Keiren Westwood, Kieran Lee, Gary Hooper and Steven Fletcher in action.

It is easy to forget that this is Luhukay’s first job in England. Having never worked before in the Championship, it is unlikely he will have known masses about the calibre of the players at his disposal or the rest of the competition. To some extent, it has been a steep learning curve for him.

Another thing to bear in mind is that Luhukay has not yet had the chance to put a proper stamp on the team. He has not had a full transfer window to work with. His only signing so far has been Joey Pelupessy. Surely he needs to be given two to three windows before people can properly judge his work?

Owls boss Jos Luhukay

It is impressive what Luhukay has achieved in the last half a dozen matches since Barry Bannan and Fernando Forestieri have returned to the fold. They have added extra creativity, flair and attacking quality to the team and the results speak for themselves. Four wins in six Championship matches. Three of them away from Hillsborough. Ten goals scored.

However, no one should be fooled by their late run. Wednesday rode their luck in the wins over Leeds United, Preston North End, Sunderland and Hull City.

If Leeds had turned their second half dominance into goals, things could have been very different at Elland Road. The Owls failed to turn up in the opening 45 minutes against Preston but fortunately the Lilywhites composure in front of goal deserted them.

Basement battlers Sunderland hit the post and were denied a blatant penalty when they were 2-1 down. Bannan was also lucky not to be sent off.

Wednesday were outplayed in the second half at Hull, with Angus MacDonald missing a sitter late on.

“We rode our luck (at Hull) and showed what we have to work on for next season,” conceded centre-back Tom Lees.

“It shows we are still a bit off.”

Lees is right. Lady Luck has been shining on the Owls of late.

Their late run shouldn’t paper over the cracks. Wednesday are a team in transition and there are plenty of things which Luhukay must address in the close season.