Dom Howson’s Sheffield Wednesday column: Inconsistent Owls need a January shake-up

Fernando Forestieri
Fernando Forestieri
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There is a real danger of the Owls being left behind in the Championship promotion race.

We are not even halfway through the season yet but Wednesday already trail league leaders Wolverhampton Wanderers by 16 points. Forget the top-two. That ain’t going to happen.

And if Middlesbrough beat Derby County at home tomorrow and the Owls slip up at Reading, there will be a seven-point gap between Carlos Carvalhal’s side and the play-off positions. If that happens, it is going to take one heck of a run to get back in the mix.

Things have gone so flat and stale at Hillsborough. An element of apathy is part of the narrative, a sense of frustration after just six victories in 18 matches.

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Although Wednesday are currently on a five-match undefeated run, they have been lucky to pick up two points from their last two outings.

Their lack of width, flair and penetration in the final third is deeply concerning. Two shots on target in three hours of football is a truly awful and damning statistic.

Without Fernando Forestieri, where is the dynamism in the attack? The team are badly missing his pace, trickery and unpredictability.

Their ponderous, laboured displays can’t go on and boss Carlos Carvalhal must take his share of the blame for their inconsistent performances. The buck ultimately stops with him and Carvalhal, by his own admission, has made mistakes this season. He is the head coach and it is his job to get more out of the players, both individually and collectively.

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But there is only so much Carvalhal can do. When the players cross that white line, it is down to them to execute his game plan. Regardless of their form, too many are assured of keeping their place in the side.

The frustrating thing is we know this group of players are capable of so much more than what they are presently producing. They have shown that in each of the last two campaigns. They have shown it this term in patches against Fulham, Nottingham Forest, Leeds United and Aston Villa.

However, their inability to keep clean sheets on a regular basis is hindering their progress. As things stand, they don’t have a solid foundation and have forgotten how to grind out results when not at their best.

Should Carvalhal still be in charge come the New Year - and there is nothing to suggest chairman Dejphon Chansiri is remotely contemplating making a change - then he needs to be busy in the transfer market. Given the club are determined to stay within the Financial Fair Play guidelines, it won’t be easy to reshape the squad. Yet the fortuitous Ipswich draw highlighted the importance of bringing reinforcements in January.

There needs to be some wheeling and dealing. It’s time for a shake-up.

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