Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Rival Lines: Cherry Chimes talks to Owls Alive

Rival Lines
Sheffield Wednesday v AFCB
Match Preview
Blogger Interview: Owls Alive

Cherry Chimes spoke last week with Danny Gooderson who writes on the Owls Alive website. Let's find out how Sheffield Wednesday fans are feeling ahead of the match and if they have reason to be confident of stopping the Cherries in their tracks up at Hillsborough.

CC: How is the optimism going among Sheffield Wednesday fans at the moment as you have made a descent start to the season?

The vast majority are still on board but after a few winless games you get one or two murmurs of discontent, that's all they are at the moment but compared to the nightmare that was last season and what happened during the summer with the failed takeover, we've done a lot better than what I personally was expecting. We're a tough side to beat but the fear amongst supporters is we don't have enough goals in us.

CC: Do you think Stuart Gray is getting the best out of your players and has found a style that they find easy to follow?

OA: Stuart Gray has built a team spirit in the camp that we've lacked for a long time, his style of play isn't that dissimilar to what occurred under his predecessor Dave Jones in my opinion, and when it clicks we look fantastic, when it doesn't we look like we could play until Christmas and not score. We do have one or two flaky inconsistent players as regulars like Jacques Maghoma and Chris Maguire, but overall there's not a lot more he can get out of this current bunch.

CC: How good do you think Atdhe Nuhui is compared to other Championship strikers?

OA: Adthe Nuhiu is probably the most technically gifted player we have at Hillsborough and perhaps the Championship, he can do things with his feet that lifts folk out of their seats and he does a lot of stuff that goes unnoticed. If Adthe could convert more of the chances he gets we'd be fighting off Premier League clubs for his services. I'm not sure he's comparable to another Championship striker because he's quite a unique player!

He's an opinion divider though, strikers are always judged on the goals column and he and Stevie May should have scored a few more than they have. He hit a purple patch at the back end of last season, I believe he scored at Dean Court as well and the hope was he'd push on, it hasn't quite happened yet but I believe he's more than capable of hitting another scoring streak.

CC: You have lost three home games against Forest and Watford but did you feel hard done by in any of those matches?

OA: Watford, I have no arguments about - yes, they scored a controversial goal and Keiren Westwood made his only error of the season so far, but they were just the better side on the day and for my money they're one of the best sides in the league despite the managerial instability.

Forest was a disappointment, but if you don't convert the chances that come your way, sides like Forest are likely to punish you and that's exactly what happened.

Our problem at home is we don't score enough goals, we're the lowest home scorers in the division with just three and we didn't create much against Norwich. It's a bit of a debate amongst our supporters whether it's down to our midfield not creating enough chances or our strikers not converting them when they do come their way.

CC: What do you make of Royston Drenthe coming to you on loan until January, Gary Taylor-Fletcher has also joined for a month, too many loan players?

OA: We employ a small squad so chances are we'll dip into the loan market. Royston Drenthe filled a need after the sale of Michail Antonio, but so far he's flattered to deceive. He reminds me a lot of the departed Jermaine Johnson as in he'll look like he could be a threat, but when push comes to shove he offers nothing.

We went through 10 loan players last season and had another three or four here on short term contracts so we've had issues with squad stability, I think we employed a dozen centre-half combinations last season!

Ideally a larger squad would do but in our situation with the wage budget, loan players seem to be the way to go. We've had a couple of cracking loan players in recent years - Ross Barkley and Connor Wickham benefited hugely from spells at S6 but it's a gamble - for every Connor Wickham you get a Jay Bothroyd.

GTF has been signed to try and shake up competition up front, the initial reaction to his signing was negative but I'm willing to give him time before dismissing him.

CC: Have you any injury worries at the moment?

OA: Yes, we're missing Sam Hutchinson who is a big loss. We knew that he wouldn't always be available when we signed him but he's been immense for us when he has been available. He and Kieran Lee looked like developing a promising partnership in the centre of the park, but so far it's not come to fruition. Lewis Buxton has also struggled in recent weeks with injury but he's no longer a certainty to start as young Liam Palmer has stepped in at right back and done a sterling job.

CC: Did the Man City thumping in the Capital One Cup do you no favours as the team has not won since then (Question set before Charlton match)?

OA: It's easy to blame the Manchester City game and I don't think it helped but we didn't employ a full strength team that night. It shook Joe Mattock up for a couple of games afterwards but otherwise there's been no ill effect. The problems we've suffered since are the ones we had prior to our trip to the Etihad.

CC: Wednesday probably ended our outside hopes of a play-off spot last season, but are you optimistic that your team can make a top six finish or if not where will you come?

OA: I think top six is beyond us in all reality barring a miraculous run of luck with injuries and suspensions. Since the Owls dropped out of the Premier League in 2000 we've only finished in the top half of the Championship twice so my ideal season would be a top 12 finish and we're more than capable of achieving that if everything clicks.

CC: Are there any AFC Bournemouth players that you would like in your team?

OA: I'm a big fan of Matt Ritchie and think he could be the man who could provide the ammunition for our forwards. Callum Wilson would be a good addition to our strike force too.

CC: What is your score prediction for the match?

OA: Well,when I predict us to lose we usually win so I'll say AFC Bournemouth will nick it 1-0!

CC: Thanks Danny. Some very honest answers there. It is not often that the opposition expect AFCB to win away at their ground but the Cherries reputation has been bolstered by recent wins. It is interesting that Danny picks out Matt Ritchie along with Callum Wilson as the players he would most like to grab from the Cherries. Matt is doing extremely well with his assists this season and it shows me that it is not only the main strikers that are capturing the attention in AFCB's team. Safe travel for all those making the journey up to Hillsborough. Catch up with a preview of the match on the  Owls Alive website. You can also follow Danny @DGood83

All Departments podcast is out - Double Albion. Listen back to reviews of the WBA and Brighton match with Michael Dunne. You can listen by going to the All Department's website or by scrolling down Cherry Chimes' panel on the right until you see All Department's soundbar. It's a bumper 1hr 23 min podcast!! Mike Botto is on there as well!!

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