Sheffield Wednesday preview and pub guide: Owls’ wings clipped

Sheffield Wednesday preview and pub guide: Owls’ wings clipped
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Sheffield Wednesday have had a slow start to the season after a summer of enforced transfer inactivity.

The Owls have been under a transfer embargo since April after breaching the Football League’s Financial Fair Play rules.

While several players left Hillsborough during the close season, manager Jos Luhukay has been unable to add to his squad.

Former Brentford striker Jordan Rhodes is one of those who has gone through the out door – joining Norwich on a season-long loan – while other notable departures have been former captain Glenn Loovens, who has moved to Sunderland, right-back Jack Hunt, who has signed for Bristol City, and midfielder Ross Wallace, who was released.

The ban on transfers followed a disappointing season in which the Owls finished 15th after two successive play-off campaigns.

That was where they were in the table when manager Carlos Carvalhal, who had overseen both those play-off seasons, left just before Christmas to be replaced by Jos Luhukay.

In those unsuccessful play-off attempts, they lost 1-0 to Hull in the 2016 final and were then beaten 4-3 on penalties by Huddersfield, after an aggregate 1-1 draw, in the semi-finals 12 months later.

This is Wednesday’s seventh successive season in the Championship and when not in the play-offs they  have finished in the bottom half of the table in every other campaign.

Founder members of the Premier League, they have not been in the top flight since 1999/2000.

They started this season with a 3-2 defeat at promoted Wigan and picked up their first point last weekend by drawing 1-1 with Hull.

They collected their first win of the campaign on Thursday night when they won 2-0 at Sunderland in the Carabao Cup to earn a second round tie against Wolves.

SUNDAY BEST? NOT FOR BRENTFORD

While we haven’t played that many games on a Sunday, Brentford’s recent results on that day of the week are nothing to write home about.

Since the start of 2010/11 season, the Bees have been in action on a Sunday 11 times but have only come away with three victories – one of them against this Sunday’s visitors Sheffield Wednesday.

While we have also drawn three games, we have lost five matches – with two of them finals at Wembley. We were beaten 1-0 by Carlisle in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy on the first Sunday in April in 2011 and then, more significantly, 2-1 by Yeovil in the League One play-offs in the middle of May two years later.

Aside from the wins, our best Sunday result in this period was the 2-2 FA Cup draw with Chelsea, while the most exciting was last season’s 3-3 draw with Brighton.

List of recent Bees’ Sunday results:

5 Sep 2010 – League One – Sheffield Wednesday (H) W 1-0 (MacDonald)

3 Apr 2011 – JPT final – Carlisle (Wembley) L 0-1

27 Jan 2013 – FA Cup fourth round – Chelsea (H) D 2-2 (Trotta, Forrester pen)

17 Feb 2013 – FA Cup fourth round replay – Chelsea (A) L 0-4

19 May 2013 – League One play-off final – Yeovil (Wembley) L 1-2 (Dean)

29 Sep 2013 – League One – Coventry (A) W 2-0 (Donaldson, Taylor)

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29 Dec 2013 – League One – MK Dons (H) W 3-1 (Donaldson, Trotta, Saunders)

28 Dec 2014 – Championship – Wolves (A) L 1-2 (Batth og)

5 February 2017 – Championship – Brighton (H) D 3-3 (Jota, Dean, Kerschbaumer)

7 May 2017 – Championship – Blackburn (H) L 1-3 (Vibe)

6 May 2018 – Championship – Hull City (H) D 1-1 (Canos)

WHO’S IN CHARGE

Jos Luhukay took charge of the Owls at the start of January.

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Luhukay spent his playing career in his native Netherlands and then Germany, where he has all his previous coaching and managerial experience.

He led both Borussia Monchengladbach and Hertha Berlin to promotion to the Bundesliga’s top division and numbers Cologne and Stuttgart among other clubs where he has been at the helm.

When he arrived at Hillsborough, he said: “Sheffield Wednesday is exactly the exciting challenge for which I have been waiting.”

WE’VE MET BEFORE

Brentford’s record against Sheffield Wednesday isn’t great since we arrived in the Championship, with only two victories in eight matches.

One of those came when we last met in December – more details below – while the other one was a 2-1 win at Hillsborough in February 2017.

We failed to score against them in 2014/15 – drawing 0-0 at Griffin Park and losing the return 1-0 – while the following season Wednesday did the double, following a 2-1 victory in TW8 with a 4-0 hammering at Hillsborough.

As mentioned, our only away win came in 2016/17, after an earlier 1-1 draw here.

Last year, our early season winless run continued as Wednesday came from behind to beat us 2-1 at Hillsborough in September.

Nico Yennaris gave us an early lead when his shot deceived Owls keeper Kieren Westwood, but Gary Hooper equalised on the stroke of half-time and Ross Wallace won it in the 70th minute to leave us second bottom of the table with three points from seven matches.

The return was our final game of 2017 and goals in either half from Lasse Vibe and Florian Jozefzoon gave us a 2-0 win – our third successive victory – against the managerless Owls.

OPPOSITION VIEW

BBC Radio Sheffield commentator Rob Staton is back to tell us what went wrong for Wednesday last season, how the transfer embargo has hit the club and what fans are expecting this season.

Q – Last season was quite a disappointment given that Wednesday reached the play-offs the season before. What went wrong?

A – Injuries. Wednesday had incredible bad luck with injuries last season, missing key players like Fernando Forestieri for almost the whole season. Every team has a few injuries but Wednesday’s list was unprecedented and practically ended any chance of a play-off push.

Q – What was the feeling when Carlos Carvalhal left?

A – The fans had turned. In the Middlesbrough game before his departure there were audible chants of ‘Carlos out’. It’s been a while since the fans at Hillsborough actively chanted for a manager to go. He left on Christmas Eve. My wife was delighted when I said I was going in to present an impromptu phone-in……

Q – How much of a difference did Jos Luhukay make and what did he do to improve things?

A – Initially he sought to shore up the defence and it worked. Wednesday had a string of clean sheets and became tough to beat. Then things turned, possibly due to the injury situation, and they began to leak soft goals. They ended the season strongly though with a number of wins.

Q – How big a blow has the transfer embargo been and how badly does the squad really need some fresh faces?

A – It’s a big blow. Wednesday badly need depth in defence and they’ve needed pace and a midfield beast for a long time.

Q – It’s been a disappointing start for Wednesday so what are the feelings about how this season will go?

A – It’s mixed really. Some fans remain optimistic or accept the situation. Others are concerned about the financial situation, rising prices and a team that has needs without any means of bringing anyone in. I don’t think anyone truly thinks this will be a promotion season.

Q – What should Brentford fans expect to see from Wednesday on Sunday?

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A – Inspiration from Fernando Forestieri. He is the key. And he’s started the season on top form. But Wednesday are conceding poor goals at the back.

Q – Can you give me a possible Owls starting line-up and formation?

A -3-5-2

GK Dawson

CD Pudil

CD Hutchinson

CD Lees

RWB Baker

LWB Boyd

CM Pelupessy

CM Bannan
CM Reach

ST Forestieri

ST Nuhiu

IAN WESTBROOK

@ianwestbrook

PUBS IN BRENTFORD AND TRAVEL NEWS

For Sheffield Wednesday fans coming to the game, you are probably aware there plenty of pub options pre-match and all are most welcoming and away-fan-friendly (as it should be).

As you are probably well aware, Brentford is well known for it’s four pubs – one on each corner of the ground.

The Griffin is closest to the away end (like 30 secs walk) and is very popular with away fans – but also very, very busy. The New Inn is on the other side and is also popular with away fans. The Princess Royal and the Royal Oak are the other options.

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Other pubs slightly further afield for the more creative amongst you include (and this is by no means a definitive list) …. The Globe (Windmill Rd) & The Lord Nelson (Enfield Rd) are both incredibly friendly and cosy away-friendly pubs and about 1 min walk from each other …. frequented by ‘away fans in the know’.

The Plough (Northfields Ave) in Northfields is a decent stop-off if you are coming by tube to Northfields. The ‘Northfields run’ makes a much better pub crawl route than South Ealing – getting off at Northfields station, turning left and stopping off at The Plough (2 min walk), The Lord Nelson (10 min walk from The Plough) & The Globe (1 min walk from The Nelson) en-route before ending up at The Griffin (8 min walk from The Globe) by the away turnstiles.

There’s also a relatively new tiny microbrewery pub in Northfields called The Owl and The Pussycat (Northfields Ave)– right turn out of the station away from the ground as opposed to left.

There is a pub right by Brentford mainline station referred to as … the Pub by Brentford station.

For real ale head to the Magpie and Crown pub on Brentford High Street. The Royal Horseguardsman (Ealing Road) can probably hold 15 of you at a push.

The Brewery Tap (Catherine Wheel Road) is a cosy boozer by the river. And if you are super-adventurous, get off at Kew Bridge and visit One Over the Ait (Kew Bridge Road) – a spacious boozer right next to Kew Bridge, and across from the site of the Bees’ new stadium at Lionel Road, with a deck overlooking the river – and The Express Tavern (Kew Bridge Road) – an ale pub with a retro feel. There are a load more pubs in the river in Kew if that takes your fancy.

A quick Google search and you’ll find them all. There are many, many more too if you have a look around.

Parking near the stadium is a no no but is pretty easy in the streets north of Griffin Park on the other side of the A4 Great West Rd via Ealing Road or Windmill Road. Make sure you look our for the parking signs which change from area to area.

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Getting to Brentford from town – many fans get the tube to Waterloo (Northern, Jubilee lines) or Vauxhall (Victoria Line) then take the Overground train to Brentford.

This is relatively straightforward but can actually take longer than if you get the tube because of waiting times (overground trains come every 15 mins and the journey from Vauxhall or Waterloo to Brentford is 30 minutes on the fast train – 51 mins on the slow train – so you could find it takes you over an hour including the journey from King’s Cross/Euston/Paddington).

Bear in mind that Euston mainline station is closed this weekend.

Many fans choose the tube over the overground. It’s 35 minutes to South Ealing or Northfields stations from King’s Cross or Euston (less from Paddington) and then 15 minutes walk to Brentford from there (4 mins on the bus) – more if you take the Northfields to Brentford pub crawl outlined above (Plough, Lord Nelson, Globe, Griffin) of course. If you’re feeling lazy you could take the E2 bus from outside Northfields station to either outside The Globe pub (3 stops – serves The Lord Nelson too) or Brentford FC (4 stops).

You can check out Transport for London’s guide to travel on the Tube and Overground.

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About The Author

Ian Westbrook

Bees fan since 1971 - been through all the ups and downs. Written about, reported on, commentated on and wittered on about all things Brentford in that time as well as watching hundreds, if not thousands of games, and loved every minute of it!

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