Q&A With Sheffield Wednesday

  • March 09, 2018 | By Chris Mann
  • URL Short URL: http://b-ac.es/ab5b7

Bolton's battling spirit should see them avoid relegation to League One, with Sheffield Wednesday instead taking a place in England's third tier next season.

Those are the views of Owls supporter Victoria Wood (@Victoria1867), who spoke to us ahead of Saturday's Sky Bet Championship clash between the two sides.

In the following Q&A interview, Victoria shares her views on the injury problems that threaten to destroy Wednesday's 150th-anniversary year, disbelief at Gary Madine's pricey transfer to Cardiff City, as well as why the Ameobi genes could work in Wanderers' favour.

Q: Wednesday have hit an alarming run of form since the turn of the year, winning just once in league action and losing the last five in-a-row in all competitions. Following the departure of Carlos Carvalhal and appointment of his successor, Jos Luhukay, what has gone wrong at Hillsborough?

A: If only we knew. There's a very odd atmosphere at the club recently and it's difficult to explain. For example, when we equalised against Ipswich, our fans showed their humour and lit up the stadium with mobile phones - as we had in the play-off semi-final against Brighton. But, when we ended up losing 1-2, fans were arguing amongst themselves on the way out.

For me, Jos doesn't have the passion we need in what's now looking increasingly like a relegation battle. Battle is an odd word to use, though, as few of our players seem to have any battle left in them.

Injuries seem to just haunt us, and it's now around 15 first-team squad members who are on the sidelines.

The starting 11 vs Ipswich featured probably one or two who would make it into a full-strength squad. Scary times, but nothing seems to be changing. We blamed Carvalhal, and many still do, but he's gone and things aren't looking any rosier. I think we're all just looking forward to the season being over now and seeing what next year brings - hopefully Championship football.

Q: Bolton have already recorded two victories over the Owls this season, while a third would see the Trotters leapfrog you in the table come Saturday evening. With the final 10 games of the season upon us, are you concerned about the prospect of a potential relegation scrap?

A: As I said, the thing that worries me most is the lack of ability to scrap in the team. Everything just seems to have fallen a bit flat.

This year, expectations were set so high after two runs in the play-offs and the 150th anniversary of the club.

We were promised a lot including promotion, 150th anniversary kits, a big name foreign friendly, huge celebrations and more. What we got was an injured squad, a cake ball alongside a (impressive) firework display, expensive shirts released halfway through the season and an apology at the lack of promised friendly.

Nothing will surprise us this season anymore.

Q: Gary Hooper leads Wednesday's goalscoring charts, but has been out of action since Boxing Day through injury. With his absence set to continue, who should Wanderers fans be keeping a close eye on at the weekend?

A: Sorry - Gary who? Hoops has been keeping our medical staff busy like you say, since Boxing Day.

To have your striker out for months and still be top goalscorer with 11 on his tally is somewhat miserable as well. That said, Lucas Joao and Atdhe Nuhiu do cause some problems for opposing teams, so I'd say they're the ones to keep an eye on.

Adam Reach also has a wondergoal in him occasionally, so he's another potential threat. Other than that, I'm afraid they're in the physio room!

Q: On the flip side, since selling top scorer Gary Madine to Cardiff City in January, Bolton are still trying to establish a new identity without their now-former target man. Who should Luhukay be most fearful of when it comes to our current squad?

A: We now live in a world where Donald Trump is the President, spies are being poisoned in Zizzi's and Gary Madine is a £6m striker. Unbelievable!

Adam Le Fondre played locally and I'm pretty sure we've tried to sign him previously so he's bound to score against us. Shola Ameobi always made a habit of netting at Hillsborough, so he has probably passed on some wisdom to Sammy.

Q: Almost two years to the day since Bolton almost ceased to exist, Phil Parkinson has guided the club to promotion at the first attempt and has them well-placed to avoid relegation back to the third tier. What have you made of the task he has done at Macron Stadium, and would you back him to complete a job that seemed unthinkable when we last met by keeping the Trotters in the division?

A: Parkinson has done an excellent job. I've always kept an eye on Bolton from being a kid, so it's nice to see a club rising from the almost-ashes.

The thing is, the division this year is so odd. My Podcasting colleague, James, pointed this out on Twitter this week:

"In #swfc's first season back in the Championship (2013), we'd just lost 2-1 at Watford thanks to a double from a certain F Forestieri

"It left us 20th on 40 points

"We're currently on 37 points. In 2013, we'd be in the bottom 3

"Be thankful other teams are so poor this year."

It really is anybody's guess as to what will happen towards the middle and bottom of the table.

Q: Finally, what is your score prediction for Saturday's game?

A: I honestly cannot call it. I have no idea what we'll do and who will turn up on the day.

We could end up seeing a squad that's bolstered in size by youth team players or we could have a couple of the 'walking dead' back on the field.

Either way, as you can tell, I'm on the edge of my seat!

Sky Bet Championship Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
19 Birmingham City 46 46
20 Reading 46 44
21 Bolton Wanderers 46 43
22 Barnsley 46 41
23 Burton Albion 46 41
View Full Standings >>

Poll

Who is Bolton's 2017/18 Player of the Year?
53.85% Ben Alnwick
13.11% Sammy Ameobi
10.49% Karl Henry
8.39% Antonee Robinson
4.98% David Wheater
3.41% Mark Beevers
2.1% Mark Little
1.84% Josh Vela
1.57% Darren Pratley
0.26% Reece Burke