GR-EIGHT OWLS ARE ON MARCH

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Lee Brown

UN­BEATEN in eight games and sit­ting pretty in the Cham­pi­onship top ten, Sh­effield Wed­nes­day are start­ing to have the ap­pear­ance of le­git­i­mate pro­mo­tion con­tenders.

Yet de­spite see­ing his side pick up a com­fort­able away derby vic­tory over Rother­ham on Fri­day night, boss Car­los Car­val­hal is still re­fus­ing to dub them as such.

His as­ser­tion that there are ten or 12 teams in the divi­sion su­pe­rior to the Owls may yet prove to be true come the end of the sea­son, but with the dog days of win­ter fast ap­proach­ing it is hard to pin­point even one or two sides in bet­ter form.

In truth, the man­ner of vic­tory over Rother­ham was far more con­vinc­ing than the 2-1 score­line sug­gests – im­pres­sive strike duo Lu­cas Joao and Fer­nando Forestieri both bag­ging a goal in a five-minute blitz just af­ter the break, thanks partly to some sus­pect goal­keep­ing from Millers stop­per Lee Camp.

Tom Thorpe did net a con­so­la­tion goal in the fi­nal minute of stop­page time at the New York Sta­dium but Car­val­hal re­mains ec­static at the progress shown by his Wed­nes­day out­fit.

“It’s amaz­ing how in three months we have changed a lot of things, but we are still in the process,” said Car­val­hal.

“The play­ers are do­ing fan­tas­tic, they fol­low our ideas, they have an amaz­ing at­ti­tude, they are play­ing like a group.

“There are prob­a­bly ten or 12 teams bet­ter than us in this com­pe­ti­tion and we have to show on the pitch that we can fight with th­ese teams and let’s see what we can do.

“We will fight game by game to do our best. There are teams more ready than us but what we can do is be one of 12 teams that are fight­ing for the top six. Some teams are stronger than oth­ers.

“I still think we can do bet­ter. I was not too pleased with the first-half per­for­mance, we could have done bet­ter and we talked about that in the break.”

It was a rel­a­tively even first pe­riod in the South York­shire derby, if a lit­tle short of gen­uine chances, with Owls mid­fielder Barry Bannan head­ing the half’s best op­por­tu­nity nar­rowly over.

But Car­val­hal’s half-time team talk had an im­pact as the vis­i­tors found them­selves 2-0 up by the 50-minute mark.

Firstly, Thorpe’s de­fen­sive er­ror en­abled Forestieri to fire a 46thminute strike at goal which Camp could only push into the path of Por­tuguese front­man Joao, who side-footed home.

Then four min­utes later, Camp in­ex­pli­ca­bly pushed a weak Daniel Pudil header straight to Forestieri, who couldn’t fail to tap in.

Rother­ham are firmly en­trenched in the bot­tom three and it is clear to see why as they looked short of ideas in at­tack, cre­at­ing lit­tle dur­ing the 90 min­utes in front of their own fans.

They did get on the score­board in in­jury time when Thorpe slot­ted home from Chris Maguire’s cross but boss Neil Red­fearn’s search for a first win since tak­ing charge goes on.

And the 50-year-old was left to be­moan in­di­vid­ual er­rors that en­sured the Millers haven’t beaten Wed­nes­day in the league since 1976. He said: “I think if you look at both goals they’re poor from our point of view. It’s poor de­fend­ing from young Tom Thorpe who could have cleared it and a cou­ple of things come off Lee Camp who’s done ever so well for us in re­cent times.

“I knew when I came in and I said the other night that it might be two steps for­ward and one back and tonight is one back.

“We talked at half-time about com­ing out the traps which we did against Read­ing, and we got the crowd up and got the equaliser on the front foot, but here we did ex­actly the op­po­site.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Images

BIG HEART: Fer­nando Forestieri cel­e­brates af­ter scor­ing Sh­effield Wed­nes­day’s sec­ond goal

STAR MAN FER­NANDO FORESTIERI

Sh­eff Wed

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.