Date:Thursday February 8 2007
Nick, the Editor (Head Hitter-get it?) of the Vital Sheffield Wednesday Site ,in an exchange of questions,provides his views on the Clarets v Owls match coming up on Saturday at Turf Moor
You're on a similarly bad run to us - whats gone wrong?
That's the million dollar question! We thought it would just be a blip when we lost to Hull at home, but boy has been a big blip ever since! We had a good couple of matches against Man City and more than matched Derby at their place before they got a winner in the 94th minute. Sunderland we had three midfielders in the back four, and Southampton away I can't comment on as I missed that. So some of it has been simply down to bad luck, but we're going to miss Madjid Bougherra after he left for Charlton. Laws' honeymoon period certainly is over, and he made some odd decisions last month, but I'm not going to get on his back...just yet.
Have you been up to much in the January transfer window?
We've done more than a lot of Wednesday fans thought. I think the majority expected us to stick with the same squad until the end of the season, minus Bougherra, following our good form in November and December, but Laws has 'strengthened' the attack by bringing in Jermanine Johnson from Bradford and Leon Clarke from Wolves. Have to say Clarke doesn't look up to much at the moment - but I think he'll be a long term project for Laws to work on. JJ has had rave reviews and I can't wait to see him play - but he's suspended for the first three matches after he got sent off in his last match for Bradford!
What are your hopes for the rest of the season?
Just to finish up where we are at the moment. There was a lot of talk of a play-off spot over the festive period, and we were playing some of the best football I've seen us play in a long time during that spell. But now it looks like we're just going to see our season simmer out in to nothingness - which is a lot better than last season anyway, so we need to keep our heads up. Mid-table was the aim at the start of the season and it has to be the aim now.
How do Owls fans rate Cotterill especially in light of recent poor results? Would he have been accepted at Wednesday when you were looking at options? How do you rate Brian Laws, someone with connections to the Clarets (he played for us 1979-83)
I think when we came in for Cotterill you were flying high in the Championship, and he was getting rave reviews all over the place. No offence, but I wasn't too sure myself, I thought there were better managers out there that we could have attracted put it that way. He seems to have done a top job with you on a very limited budget, and has brought in some good players in the transfer window.
Laws is a tough one. You couldn't say anything wrong about him when we came in to the new year, but now fans are little worried about our current form and are wondering if the brilliant start we had under him was just a honeymood period, or thanks to Sean McAuley who got us winning when he took control as caretaker boss. The true judgement of him will be next season, when he's had a full pre-season to bring his own players in and had time to work with the players. We live in hope...
Owls are a big club, why have you not been that successful over recent seasons? Can you pinpoint the problems?
Money, money, and money. Unless Laws, or anyone else for that matter, pulls of a miracle ala Aidy Boothroyd then I don't think we'll be going anywhere unless we get some major investment in the club. Look at Derby - struggling last season and now a new owner and board come in, totally transform the club, and they could be in the Premiership. I wouldn't be surprised if that happened at Leicester once Mandaric takes over too. Our chairman has said we have four interested parties with things set to be resolved in the summer, but we've heard it all before...
How many do you think you will bring now that Cricket Field stand is deemed to be safe after the Storm damage?!
We sold out the 2,000 pretty quick when we were supposed to be in your home end, but only got the other batch on Saturday once we knew the regular away end was open. I think we've sold 2,500 so far with 500 left to sell at the ticket office. I'd think we'll sell these. We also have 1,000 on the doors, which is where I'll be getting mine.
Which Owls players should we look out for?
There's only a couple at the moment, but Chris Brunt will be the one to watch. Impressed for Northern Ireland in midweek and hopefully he'll continue that this season. I think he's scored nine this season, which is the best goalscoring record of any midfielder in the division by my records. Got a lethal left-foot, so watch out for his corners and free-kicks.
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
Massive weakness at the moment is our defence. We've been leaking goals left, right, and centre and I don't think Laws knows his best back four at the moment. Crossley has made some brilliant stops for us while he's been here but he's also made a fair few mistakes too. Simek is top class, and Bullen always gives 100 per cent but we've been playing two academy lads at left back and centre-back. Hopefully either Coughlan, Wood, Hills or all three will be back in contention for the weekend.
Strengths, erm, even though we're shipping a few goals we also score quite a few too. Again, the same problem with the defence though in that Laws doesn't seem to know his best attacking pair. Maclean has been scoring goals almost for fun, but got dropped at the weekend for some reason. Burton's form has improved of late, while Tudgay netted a load when Laws first came in, but he hasn't scored since November!
Whats your most memorable Clarets v Owls match?
What a question! Has to be the 7-2 at your place doesn't it?! I seem to remember you got hammered at home a fair few times that season - Watford and Rotherham was it?! We were already down so nobody would have really been bothered about the result anyway, but to win 7-2 gave us at least something to shout about! It was probably one of the best away days I've been on, we even celebrated when you scored! We seems to have a good record at Turf Moor, three wins from three from the times I've been.
What have you made of the Clarets this season?
Excellent start, not so excellent recently. Must be frustrating I bet. When you came to Hillsborough I didn't think you were anything special, but you worked hard and Cotterill seemed to have you organised really well. But then you need that extra bit of skills as well as graft to go that extra bit further, maybe you need to get some of that? I know of Joey Gudjonsson (sp?) from my mate who supports Leicester, and it sounds like he could give you that once he gets settled in...
Whats your score prediction?
I hate making score predictions, because I want to put a Wednesday win, but I know that'll be a curse. We've always done well at your place, and I remember last season we were on a bad run of form and were without a goal in a number of games, then we came and mamaged to get a win somehow! BUT - I'll play it safe and go for the draw....
Good luck for the rest of the season. Nick
Vital Burnley FC wish to thank the Vital Owls Editor, Nick for his time in responding to our questions and for providing some top notch answers
Bring it on!
Visit the Vital Owls Board to keep up with their team news and gossip about the match and also to see our response to similar questions.Here is their link:
Date:Thursday February 8 2007
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