Dom Howson: Why Sheffield Wednesday boss Garry Monk is right to keep faith with under-fire Owls player
There have been calls for Cameron Dawson to lose his place as first-choice goalkeeper after a number of unconvincing performances in Wednesday's woeful run of results since Christmas.
Emotions are, understandably, running high at S6 and Dawson has found himself under increased scrutiny following Saturday's draw at Barnsley. He was at fault for the Reds equaliser, with his wretched clearance seized upon by Cauley Woodrow, who coolly fired the ball into the empty net from 30 yards out.
It was a big goalkeeping howler and, as boss Garry Monk later pointed out, changed the complexion of the South Yorkshire derby. Up until Dawson's 24th minute mistake, the visitors had looked reasonably comfortable at Oakwell.
It was not Dawson's first error this calendar year. He did not cover himself in glory for the first of Blackburn's five goals last month and he made a bad blunder way to Queens Park Rangers in the FA Cup.
Few observers would argue that Dawson's form has dipped in recent weeks, with his distribution a big cause for concern. His kicking was very poor against Barnsley.
But Monk defended Dawson to the hilt, refusing to blame him after Wednesday failed to return to winning ways.
He said: "Goalkeepers will make mistakes and often they prove costly."
Dawson's error was costly but Monk has vowed to stand by his man.
When I asked Monk if Dawson was still his No 1 after the Barnsley stalemate, he replied: "Yes."
It is hardly a surprise that Monk has given Dawson a vote of confidence. After all, Dawson has started the last 16 matches in a row.
"He is a fantastic lad," said Monk. "He is gaining experience all the time and he will be a very, very good goalkeeper."
Dawson may be relatively young in goalkeeping terms at 24 but he has been in and around the first-team environment ever since he made his Wednesday debut in 2016, clocking up over 50 appearances in the famous blue and white stripes. He is not a rookie.
Dawson's high profile mistakes has led to some Wednesdayites urging Monk to drop him and recall out-of-favour Owls star Keiren Westwood in between the sticks. Westwood has proven he is a top performer at this level.
But it is easy to forget that Westwood was not pulling up any trees earlier this season. The 35-year-old made a number of errors, culminating in him losing the gloves.
No one was demanding that Westwood be reinstated in December and early January when Dawson was performing well.
And if Monk was to leave out Dawson, it could potentially harm his confidence and development.
What is crystal clear, though, is that Monk sees Dawson rather than Westwood as a big part of his plans moving forward (Dawson signed a new four-year contract on January 27).
Say what you like about some of Dawson's decision-making but he is a fine shot-stopper. He is the club's future.
Now is the time for Wednesdayites to get behind one of their own and help Dawson come through this rough patch.