It’s taken them too long to work it out, but Sheffield Wednesday are finding things a little trickier this season than they did last time around.
In Carlos Carvalhal’s first term in charge at Hillsborough, almost everything was new.
There were a host of fresh faces in the team, the head coach himself was a little wet behind the ears when it came to the Championship and for the opposition, week after week, this new Owls side were far removed from that which had meandered through the division having come up from League One a few years previous.
This was a dynamic, exciting, attacking Sheffield Wednesday, the like of which fans hadn’t seen at S6 for quite some time.
For that reason many teams didn’t really know how to deal with them.
There was an element of surprise that weirdly carried on throughout the campaign, despite the increasing level of coverage that Wednesday were beginning to stir up because of these performances.
That’s all gone, now.
The surprise factor has disappeared and every team in the Championship is well versed on what they have to do to prevent the Owls from producing that style of play that was so pleasing on the eye.
The biggest losers here are the Wednesday faithful.
We have already seen that a number of teams are coming to Hillsborough and doing all they can to get away with a point or perhaps, like Ipswich did in the last home game, nick what would have been seen as an unlikely victory.
It has caused the level of entertainment to dip sharply as Wednesday’s players press and probe in their attempts to get behind well-disciplined defences.
With season ticket sales superb in the summer and the attendances regularly well above 25,000, it’s a shame that those who had clearly come back to Hillsborough more regularly due to last season’s exploits have been denied entertainment.
The responsibility now lies with the players and the coaching staff to find that key to unlock teams intent on stifling and rediscover the vigour they showed previously.
That could arrive soon, thanks to a fixture schedule that has thrown up two away games in a row.
Wednesday needed to get away from Hillsborough for a while, to take on teams on their own patch, with the hope that they might not be quite so defensively-minded.
Certainly Fulham, with the form that they’re in, will likely be a lot more open on Saturday at Craven Cottage, while Wolves, with a new manager in Paul Lambert at the helm, will be wanting to attack and give their fans something to shout about.
From an Owls point of view this could be perfect and there will then be the hope that by the time they head home again confidence will be high. That’s the theory anyway.