Sheffield Wednesday: The inside track on the Owls' opponents for tonight's clash at Cardiff City
Sheffield Wednesday head to the Cardiff City Stadium this evening hoping to record their first win in the Welsh capital in over 12 years.
Neil Warnock’s men have enjoyed an unbeaten start to their Championship season at home and will provide one of the toughest tests yet to the Owls’ play-off credentials.
So why are the Bluebirds sat in 11th place and how did they let Kadeem Harris slip through their fingers? We asked WalesOnline Cardiff City correspondent Glen Williams for the inside track on Wednesday’s opponents.
Cardiff were among the favourites to win the league this season. How are things going?
It's been a mediocre start to the season for Cardiff City. Their home form is promotion form, but their away form is relegation form, so mid-table is about right. The ultimate goal is still promotion and Cardiff always play better in the second half of the season, so all is not lost just yet.
They went on a run of seven games unbeaten before the 4-2 defeat by West Brom last time out, so they are in decent shape and will be hoping to bounce back after that loss.
Will Vaulks was a player linked with Wednesday this summer. How is life in south Wales treating him?
The honest answer is pretty badly at the moment. He had a nightmare against Reading at the start of the season, being at fault for the first goal in the 3-0 defeat, and has played just one minute of Championship football since. So that tells its own story.
He has been unfortunate in that Marlon Pack signed on deadline day and has been superb, quickly growing to become a fan favourite and making that defensive midfield position his own,
Neil Warnock has spoken of Vaulks' disappointment at not getting in the side of late, but it's a long campaign and hopefully his time will come.
There's always a lot made of Neil Warnock's preferred style of football. Just how direct are Cardiff?
They are pretty direct. Set pieces are their bread and butter, free-kicks, corners and long throw-ins. And they love to counter-attack, too, trying to hit teams on the break with the pace of Josh Murphy and Gavin Whyte on the wings.
Where do you see the key battles taking place on Friday evening?
How I see it is there are three key areas.
- Joe Bennett and Josh Murphy have been exposed on the left a number of times this season, so how they cope with Wednesday's right wing will be crucial.
- Lee Tomlin is likely to play in the No.10 role and he has been brilliant in unlocking defences, so whether Wednesday's back four can deal with him will be important.
- Sean Morrison and Aden Flint have been nuisances from set pieces this season, so Wednesday's defence needs to be up to the physical battle.
Who are the Bluebirds Wednesday should be most wary of?
Gavin Whyte has been incredibly exciting this season, however his end product has just been lacking. If he clicks then he could cause Wednesday a lot of trouble. Josh Murphy can be brilliant on his day, too, however his inconsistency continues to frustrate.
And, as mentioned above, Tomlin has the potential to be the puppet master if he is on his game.
Kadeem Harris has been a revelation for Sheffield Wednesday. How is he seen by Cardiff supporters?
Many fans were sad to see him go. Even Warnock revealed he would have liked to keep him, but felt he needed to go somewhere to play regular football for his own good and it seems he has found the perfect home up in Sheffield.
But he had, and probably still has, many City fans who were praying he would come good. But the general feeling is he didn't produce consistently enough over the course of his stay here. That doesn't seem to be the case at Wednesday, however, and it will be interesting to see how he does on Friday night and the reception he gets. I suspect it will be a decent one, though.