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View From The Town End: Sheffield Wednesday (FA Cup)

What’s the mood in the Owls camp like going into Friday’s game? We asked one of their fans to find out.

Sheffield United v Sheffield Wednesday - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

Like Reading, Sheffield Wednesday are having a pretty miserable time of things at the moment, sitting just one place ahead of us in the league despite also finishing in the play-offs last season. However, the two sides meet in the FA Cup on Friday, both hoping for a morale-boosting win and a place in the fifth round of the competition.

To preview the game, we spoke to Owls fan @LouisShackshaft.

Looking through Wednesday’s cup record, it’s been 21 years since you last got to the quarter finals of the FA Cup - are Owls fans desperate for a long cup run this year?

Not particularly, the league has always been Sheffield Wednesday’s priority during that time frame, from fighting relegation to attempting promotion. A cup run would be great but it’s not a realistic expectation to reach anywhere even close to the final.

This season hasn’t changed. The league is the priority, however, with the introduction of a new manager, the cup gives him more opportunity to try out and test new formations and players, especially from the youth setup.

Like Reading, Wednesday have had an underwhelming season so far - is there a feeling amongst the fans that a cup run can reignite your season?

If I’m honest, with or without a cup run I believe our league season is over. First and foremost we have to accumulate enough points to stay in this division and then begin to fight for the highest league position that is mathematically available.

We are about 12 points adrift of the final play-off spot, although a cup run may see us improve in the form table, we are simply too far adrift off competing anywhere near the top six.

Sheffield Wednesday v Carlisle United - The Emirates FA Cup Third Round Replay Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

I do, however, expect Wednesday to start picking up more points slowly but surely in the league and with this see the Owls improve in the league standings under Jos Luhukay. I’d predict us to finish somewhere between 10-14th this season.

Carlos Carvahal was given the boot on Christmas Eve, only to be appointed by Swansea a few days later - what went wrong for him this season, and what do you make of him immediately getting a Premier League job?

Basically, his time was up at Sheffield Wednesday. Nothing against the guy, he gave it a good go and almost became a hero in his first season in charge. Ultimately, his tactics and management style became too predictable with no plan B, therefore we became stale. We needed fresh ideas and a new approach, hence Luhukay’s arrival.

Regarding Carvalhal’s current job, it came as no surprise. Carlos was linked with Swansea for a good 12 months before finally finding himself in the hot seat in the Premier League. His departure from the Owls was perfect timing. I wish him the best of luck in his new job, however, like I said his days were numbered at Hillsborough. My only concern now is Wednesday’s promotion ambitions next term. I will always appreciate Carvalhal’s efforts but we had to move on.

What do you make of new manager Jos Luhukay so far?

So far so good. He has a disciplined approach and has already made some interesting changes to the starting eleven, although injuries have played a huge part in this transformation.

We are currently unbeaten under Luhukay and yet to concede so I have no complaints. However, it is obviously very early days. Luhukay needs time, new players, he will bring fresh ideas and once our ‘better’ players return from injury I’m hoping we begin to click and start turning draws into wins.

What weaknesses are there in this Wednesday side that Reading can exploit?

It’s difficult to say under our new manager because the Wednesday faithful are still unsure how are team will be deployed game by game. Under Carvalhal we setup in a 4-4-2 formation and our weaknesses were set pieces and defensive lapses during his reign during this campaign.

Sheffield Wednesday v Reading - Sky Bet Championship - Hillsborough Photo by Simon Cooper/PA Images via Getty Images

Luhukay sets up in a 5-3-2 formation and therefore we are seemingly harder to breakdown. This doesn’t mean we don’t have weaknesses, we have been struggling to score of late and we have no option than to play our second string players. We currently have nine first team players sidelined, this alone can be exploited on Friday.

Finally, how do you see the match going and what will the score be?

I can see this game being a dull affair if I’m honest, it may resemble that of a friendly. I expect few chances and little opportunity. I can see either team winning this 1-0, with the home advantage I will predict the Owls to be victorious on the day by this scoreline.

Although I would love Sheffield Wednesday to progress to the next round, it wouldn’t be the end of the world if we were to fall short at this hurdle. I’m sure you have the same opinion from Reading’s perspective.