I don’t think anyone, other than the most optimistic supporter, thought we would win against Millwall in midweek. I must admit that once I saw the starting line up, I was sure we would get hammered. It was a very happy surprise to see us win and a great feeling to see us win with a team with several academy players starting. There was also the positive news that Lucas Joao has signed a contract extension. I have been critical of Joao in the past but last season he seemed to grow as a player and his contribution, alongside Nuhiu was vital in steering us clear of a relegation scrap.
Today we play Ipswich who are managed by Paul Hurst, who I believe supports The Owls and will want to get a win against us. Ipswich are a team I always feel uneasy about us playing as they tend to be a team we don’t do well against. Last season we drew at Ipswich and lost at home. The season before we lost at home and earned a win away, and the season prior to that we lost away and drew at home. In the last six meetings we have picked up five points. It’s not a great return against a team that, on paper, are no better than an average Championship side.
I hope that we approach today with the same mix of youth and experience. I am excited at seeing how Matt Penney fares with a run in the first team. His left foot seems to create some wonder goals; check out the YouTube video below:
Following the Brentford defeat, there was some talk of Bannan being unhappy with our manager and I was worried that we might not see the best of Barry Bannan but he produced a fantastic goal against Millwall midweek that must surely be a contender for an award. It’s good to see Bannan get a goal as I feel it’s a part of his game that could improve and as a club we really need our midfielders to contribute more goals. Last season, our highest scoring midfielder (Adam Reach) managed four league goals.
CS Sportul Snagov continue their Liga II campaign tomorrow morning when they entertain SSC Farul Constanta. A win tomorrow could see Snagov go top of the division. I will be keeping a close eye on this game as I’ve started to really feel a connection to the club, and it is something that SWFC could really learn from. I follow both clubs on Facebook, but see more updates from the small Romanian club than I do from The Owls. These updates are not anything ground breaking but just brief updates and messages from the players and backroom staff urging fans to come and attend the game. Not every message from the club needs to be an essay or lecture, but just a simple message reminding people that the club exists and an appeal from player to fan could be an effective way of encouraging fans to attend games.
Put it this way, if you were a SWFC fan and you were on the fence about going to day and you were scrolling through Facebook and you see a post that grabs your attention. It’s a photo of, let’s say, Adam Reach in his tracksuit. He’s stood in the centre circle at an empty Hillsborough and accompanying the picture is a simple message; something along the lines of “When this ground is full, there’s no better place to play. It gives us all that extra fire to play well. Come and be a part of it.” That would be a simple job requiring just a few minutes of time from the SWFC social media team and even if it encourages just a handful of fans to attend, then that’s a win. There’s been matches I’ve been hesitant to go to, but when I’ve seen someone post a video of a good SWFC win or goal it’s made me stand up and go to Hillsborough. Surely, I can’t be alone in this.
I’m hoping that we see some players come into the club in the next few days as I think the squad desperately needs some new ideas and fresh energy. I think the academy players have helped somewhat with this, but the atmosphere at Hillsborough is balanced on a knife edge at the moment. All it would take is a bad spell of football and I fear the atmosphere could turn toxic. We need players who can lead both on and off the pitch. We need strong personalities who can guide our younger players through, what could be, a very difficult season. On a more practical note, we need pace in the team. It’s absurd that we’ve had three seasons to add pace and a midfield beast to the team and have failed to do so. It may be that we still need to let players leave before we can bring anyone in, despite the embargo being lifted.
My prediction today is for a high scoring win for the Owls. I’m thinking maybe 3-2 or 3-1. Maybe this is just fickle optimism following our win midweek, and maybe I’m thinking with my heart instead of my head. Maybe my prediction is based more in hope than logic, but football is an emotional sport and that’s what makes it so addictive.
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Critic. Writer. Thinker. Observer. Creator of nowwelive.com.