The debate raged after a disappointing defeat to Bolton, who lets remember were two divisions above us last season. They have made very few changes to their squad. It’s always interesting to hear different perspectives, and ultimately if you pay your money you have a right to your opinion; however I would question the time you ever boo your own player during a game as happened to Jay Bothroyd.
Bothroyd didn’t have a great game, and before Saturday I think he had a job in convincing some fans of his worth. He’s not match sharp but you can still see his class. I don’t buy into this not trying lark either, but again fans entitled to their views. He made an error in swearing on twitter after the game, but maybe that shows he does care. Do we all want those bland standard interactions with players where we can predict what they are going to say? People can ask for Chris O’Grady to play, but even last year he didn’t look like he was going to score a hatful of goals. I like O’Grady and he’s done well when given a chance this year, but if we want to make a challenge to get out of this league we do need a better quality of player.
Looking at our team, we’ve lost the spine from last year. Danny Batth missed very few matches. We are chopping and changing our back four because we’ve had real issues defending this year. Again you need to give players time to settle. Martin Taylor has looked shaky at best and I’m not convinced, but I’ll give him a chance. I think there were always questions over whether Miguel Llera was good enough for this level. We’ve picked up injuries to fullbacks Reda Johnson and Lewis Buxton, which has not helped. Mark Beevers has looked ok in patches, but when the whole defence is struggling, one player is never going to look good. Anthony Gardener was one player to come out of the Bolton defeat with some credit.
Another big miss from the spine is Chris Lines. I didn’t think we would miss him as much as we have. Lines is another player that some fans question, but last year he created lots of goals and we are missing his delivery at set plays. When you have a team of six foot players you have to use this to your advantage, I don’t think we have done that so far. For me, the sooner he is back in the squad the better. I think he can complement players like Ross Barkley and Rhys McCabe, maybe even in a three man midfield.
I’ve said it before but I really hate this culture of sacking the manager. Not that this should even be a suggestion with Dave Jones. Yes question his decisions; but he proved last season his management skills. It may take time but he will get us there. He’s bringing in quality players but they need time to gel and build an understanding. I also think that there is gap to bridge with the quality of last season’s players, to those such as Bothroyd and Barkley. Some of the squad can and will raise their games. Fans who expect us to do a Norwich or Southampton are unrealistic. Whilst it’s always possible, each year the Championship gets stronger. Any team that goes up this season will benefit from the new TV deal which will see massive financial rewards. The competition is strong enough and that just adds an extra incentive.
I can’t really end without making a note about the recent report regarding the Hillsborough tragedy. Feelings are still high and I know it is hard to be objective when your club is involved. I just hope Owls fans can realise that putting rivalries and opinions on clubs aside, what happened to those people should never had happened and it could have been our own fans involved that day. No one should go to a football game and not come home, and no family should have to suffer the losses those people did. The more I read about it the more it shocks me, and I think this will be around for months and maybe years. Losing any loved one is hard, and I just hope that people who write any negative comments bear this in mind.
Let’s hope our team can restore some pride and get our club in the headlines for the right reason.
Up the Owls!
Follow me on twitter @MulOwl
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