That Wembley defeat at the hands of Hull City hurt everyone connected with Sheffield Wednesday. In the end it was arguably one game too many, writes John Wozniak.
With a new season on the horizon, now is the time for forward thinking. Wednesday have raised the expectation levels ahead of what is undoubtedly going to be another ruthless season in the English Championship.
Carlos Carvalhal’s task of rebuilding for the campaign ahead is not as straightforward as it may seem. Carvalhal, who has confirmed that he had direct talks with two Premier League clubs during the summer, must bring in players that will add something extra to what’s available with the current playing squad.
Finding that 20 goal-a-season striker is a top-priority, or does one already exist within the club?
The difficulty lies with ensuring that future signings fit in with the established playing staff, there’s absolutely no room for disruptive personalities at S6. The team spirit and togetherness has been established by Carvalhal and Lee Bullen and will once again play a pivotal role in Wednesday’s promotion ambitions. Squad harmony is a priceless commodity that can’t be bought.
Steven Fletcher’s arrival at Hillsborough, allegedly on big wages, has divided opinion.
His ability to remain fit and score goals will be brought into question, judgement ought be reserved until the autumn months. The Scotland International shouldn’t be put under pressure to make an immediate impact. As the Wednesday faithful continue to hit refresh on the transfer pages, Carvalhal is fastidiously looking for new acquisitions to bolster Wednesday’s hopes of earning a right to play in the Premier League.
With a slightly odd kick-off time of 4:30 pm, Aston Villa visit Hillsborough for the season opener and those old enough to remember will be hoping for a different outcome to that of the 1991/92 season.
When it comes to betting on who will be promoted as Champions come May 2017, the clubs relegated from the Premier League last season are priced as follows:- Newcastle United 15/8 Aston Villa 9/1 and Norwich City 10/1.
As for simply being promoted to the top flight, Sheffield Wednesday are 5/1, Brighton 4/1 and Derby County at 7/2. It’s difficult to look beyond any of those six genuine promotion contenders. The noisy neighbours up the M1 are outsiders and have been busy in the transfer market, so what!
It’s highly plausible to suggest that any of the aforementioned clubs will be looking for a new gaffer midway through the season if things don’t go to plan. Carvalhal has been rightly backed in the transfer market. The ambition of the owner, Mr Chansiri, is clear for all to see, adding a bit of pressure to the players and staff alike.
Having the ability to remain unbeaten at home is key to any sustainable promotion plan, easier said than done. Now is the time to remain patient, there’s little point in pondering on what Wednesday’s rivals are doing in the transfer market, speculation often leads to disappointment.
Sheffield Wednesday football club is in safe hands and if you’re not excited about the 2016/17 season, you should be.
It promises to be another cracking season in the Championship.
John Wozniak @SWFC_1867
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