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Dom Howson’s Sheffield Wednesday column: Six reasons why Jos Luhukay deserves more credit

Sheffield Wednesday boss Jos Luhukay
Sheffield Wednesday boss Jos Luhukay

There is much to admire about the job Jos Luhukay has done since taking over the reins at Hillsborough.

Here are six reasons why I feel the Dutchman deserves more credit for turning around the club's fortunes:

He has stablised Wednesday

Luhukay, little-known in this country when he was appointed last January, inherited an injury-hit squad that were low on confidence and looked in serious danger of being dragged into a relegation battle. 

But Luhukay, regarded as a promotion expert in Germany, stopped the rot and led them to a 15th-placed finish following a strong end to the 2017/18 campaign.

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He has promoted youth

Football is a cut-throat, results-driven industry but that has not stopped Luhukay from blooding a raft of academy players. 

Some have seamlessly made the transition from youth to senior football and the club look to have unearthed two gems in Jordan Thorniley and Matt Penney.

Not all of the kids have flourished but Luhukay's policy on youth is refreshing and commendable.

Jordan Thorniley

Jordan Thorniley

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He has cut costs

As part of a big summer shake-up, Wednesday allowed some big personalities in the dressing room to move on, including Glenn Loovens and Ross Wallace. Jack Hunt was also sold to Bristol City and Jordan Rhodes joined Norwich City on loan.

With the club having to cut their cloth accordingly in an attempt to avoid falling foul of Profitability and Sustainability rules, Luhukay was, to some extent, left with little alternative but to let players go and trim a whopping wage bill.

Jos Luhukay celebrates with Matt Penney after Sheffield Wednesday's win at Aston Villa

Jos Luhukay celebrates with Matt Penney after Sheffield Wednesday's win at Aston Villa

Luhukay never complained about the cards he had been dealt. He just got on with the job he was asked to do. 

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He has made tough calls

No-one should be fooled by Luhukay's quiet demeanour. He has no favourites in the Wednesday squad. Players have to earn their place in his team.

The manager has demonstrated on multiple occasions that he is not afraid to drop established stars if he feels it is in the best interests of the team - for example, Keiren Westwood, Sam Hutchinson and Fernando Forestieri. Reputations count for nothing with him. He is doing things his way.

This is an experienced manager who will do whatever it takes to bring the good times back to Hillsborough. 

Sheffield Wednesday defender Michael Hector

Sheffield Wednesday defender Michael Hector

He has not had millions to spend

I'm sure Luhukay would have loved funds to strengthen his first-team squad last summer. However, his hands were tied by the club's four-month transfer embargo.

Rather than complain about Wednesday's inability to bring in new talent, Luhukay instead focused on improving his team from within. He injected a much-needed freshness by turning to the next generation and he has also improved and developed individuals through good coaching. Adam Reach, Lucas Joao and Marco Matias spring to mind.

Luhukay was forced to play the waiting game and Wednesday eventually captured Josh Onomah and Michael Hector on loan deadline day after the club's embargo had been lifted. The only player Luhukay has brought in for a transfer fee in his eight-month reign is Joey Pelupessy.

For more news from Hillsborough click here

He has addressed their results

Wednesday's results have significantly improved since March, with Luhukay's side claiming 34 points from their last 21 Championship matches. 

Things looked bleak after a rocky start to this campaign when the Owls picked up just one point from their opening three outings. It was alarming how Brentford outfought, outran and outclassed them.

But Wednesday came through that sticky patch and have made their joint-best start to a season since chairman Dejphon Chansiri took over the club. They are on a good run and Luhukay has made some brave selection decisions.

Has Luhukay got everything right in his time in charge? Absolutely not. Some of the criticism he attracted for his tactics has been entirely justified. 

Is everything good? Not yet. The team are, at times, too open for my liking, hence why they have kept no league clean sheet.

But it is fun watching Wednesday again. 

"Sometimes football is not predictable and my team is also sometimes not predictable," conceded Luhukay. He is not wrong there.

Give Luhukay his due, though. He has given supporters a team to believe in. They should trust his judgement, sit back and keep on enjoying the ride.

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Tottenham loanee Josh Onomah

Tottenham loanee Josh Onomah