Loans Required To End Hillsborough Fear Factor

posted 22 Sept 2013, 14:14 by Richard Brook
Originally posted here:

Sheffield Wednesday boss Dave Jones pointed to – but refused to hide behind – his players' fear of playing at home, in front of the Wednesday supporters, as the Owls drew with Yeovil Town at Hillsborough. Wednesday were unable to capitalise on Byron Webster's first half red card.

The Owls are still in search of their first win of the season, and have failed to retain a winning scoreline in all but one of six league games this season. Jones said:

Our control and decision making were affected because the crowd are having a go, and they're going to have a go... I felt one or two were flat today. I don't know if it's playing here, but we've got another 20 games here.”

Wednesday fans were already hoping to see the loan window used to strengthen the team with areas of weakness, that were apparent at the end of last season, left unaddressed this summer. In spite of chairman Milan Mandaric's quotes about building a competitive squad, the spine of the team looks fragile. There are only two senior centre-backs at the club, although Roger Johnson is poised to join on loan. There are also two available strikers, Atdhe Nuhiu and Chris Maguire. In central midfield Wednesday have a wealth of options and a dearth of quality.

Despite Yeovil being a man light, the Owls lost out in terms of possession, efforts on target and overall shot count. The side's movement off the ball was woeful, leaving themselves short of options, and they consistently failed to compete for the second ball in all areas of the pitch. Jones is right to highlight decision making as a major flaw. In attack and defence far too often Wednesday players were taking the wrong option, and squandering possession, on occasion in dangerous areas.

Jones himself is not immune from criticism as something that really stood out was Wednesday's inability to get decent crosses into the box for the forwards to attack. Signings, Jacques Maghoma and Jeremy Helan are two direct wide players, more likely to cut inside than cross and arguably too similar to pre-existing options Michail Antonio and Jermaine Johnson.

The Owls manager has also come under fire for his substitutions and for playing players out of position. To be fair to Jones, his decision to bring on defensive midfielder Jose Semedo for David Prutton while drawing 1-1 with Yeovil, was the closest to a like for like change available with the midfield flagging.

There have been rumours that the lack of transfer activity at Hillsborough may be due to an imminent takeover. Whether it is a takeover, or an influx of loan players something needs to be done to address Wednesday's weaknesses. Optimists will point to the fact that the Owls are unbeaten in four. Swift action allowing the club to build on this could avert a crisis and leave neither player nor supporter fearful of a Saturday afternoon at Hillsborough.