Sheffield Wednesday: Jos Luhukay leaps to the defence of beleaguered Owls

His Wednesday side may be suffering from a crisis of belief and confidence after a string of poor results.

Saturday, 10th March 2018, 5:00 am
Wednesday manager Jos Luhukay

But Jos Luhukay has strongly rejected suggestions his Owls players don’t care about the club’s current plight.

Wednesday welcome fellow strugglers Bolton Wanderers to Hillsborough this afternoon, kick-off 3pm, aiming to avoid a fifth successive Championship loss for the first time in over five years.

Defender Frederico Venancio could return for Owls

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Despite their alarming run of form, Luhukay insists he can’t fault the team’s attitude or application.

He told The Star: “If I have the feeling that there are players that will not give 100 per cent for the team, then I must make good decisions for the team and the first XI. I completely do not have that feeling.

“We will only have players with identification for our team, our club and also our fans. There is no other choice than they would be not in the team. But I do not have that feeling.

Bolton manager Phil Parkinson

“When I have the feeling the players give 100 per cent, they get 100 per cent from me the support.

“I believe in my players and the positive character they have and together they must be strong on Saturday.”

Wednesday have lost four of their last five home league encounters against Bolton, although they won the most recent encounter in January 2016. Nineteenth-placed Bolton trail the Owls by two points.

“For me it is a normal game,” stressed Luhukay, who may hand first-team recalls to Frederico Venancio, Daniel Pudil, Joey Pelupessy and Lucas Joao. “It is the next game that we must give the best possible performance in. And then we have a new situation the next week.

Defender Frederico Venancio could return for Owls

“I am not like this situation that every game you must win and every game is important. We know that.

“In football, you cannot say you can draw or lose, every game you must win. An important game is the next game, but we have 10 games to go. Every game is important.”

When asked if he is feeling the heat after five straight defeats in all competitions, Luhukay replied: “In football you always have pressure.

Bolton manager Phil Parkinson

“If you are in the top six, every week you have pressure to stay in the play-offs and go up to the Premier League.

“When you are not so good in the league, you have pressure to win games to stay up.

“For me, it’s no problem. If you stay up or go down, every week - every game - you try 100 per cent to give what you have. That’s also for my players.

“I don’t have pressure and stress, it’s not a good situation when you have that. You must be clear in the head and believe in yourselves.”

As for Bolton, manager Phil Parkinson is sweating over the fitness of Sammy Ameobi. The talented forward will be checked on, having missed their midweek draw at Reading due to back problem.