No shame in this Sheffield Wednesday tactic on return to winning ways - Alan Biggs
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It wasn’t just the result and performance on Monday that suggested the Owls can yet nail down automatic promotion, impressive though they were.
Without those key creative influences, Darren Moore’s team had lost their way, stumbling into the cul-de-sac of a six-match winless run.
Beating Accrington 3-0 was not necessarily the defining event. You’d expect Wednesday to win such games, difficult though they are, against struggling teams.
Nor was it about the welcome twists elsewhere that saw rivals Ipswich and Plymouth drop points to leave the Owls back on top of League One.
For me, it was more about the way they set up and set about it.
“Direct” has become a bit of a dirty word in football, the shorthand of critics for aimless punting at a time when passing out from the back is in vogue almost anywhere.
But there’s a place for route one if routes two and three take too long. Wednesday, without Byers and Windass, lack pace and thrust; they’ve struggled to pass through teams who have negated them by sitting back, sometimes far too comfortably.
Against Accrington the team were far more direct, but controlled and calculated with it. When I asked the question, Moore suggested the tactic was more to do with counteracting the opposition’s pressing, but I wonder if it is a better way forward - literally.
The Hillsborough crowd were behind them after the usual booming build-up but the atmosphere was brittle without the players maximising that support.
There was no let up from an early lead, not until after goals two and three arrived.
It also stands to reason that Wednesday will be served by at least one big man up front for the rest of the season with Lee Gregory, Michael Smith and Callum Paterson vying for those places.
They need early delivery, although there are encouraging signs that Mallik Wilks can cover the Windass role, his fitness permitting.
All in all, a restoration of faith that must not go to waste.