The Tony Gale Column

Tuesday 5 January 2016 12:00

It was a bit of a frustrating one on Saturday because we saw plenty of the ball, but didn’t really fashion too many clear cut chances. We had loads of possession but it’s what you do with it that counts. You look at the Premier League and Leicester, and they’re winning games on about 30/35 per cent possession. So it’s all about, in that last third, having that cutting edge, the final ball, a good cross, a chance at goal, and obviously taking those chances when they arrive.

I’ll go back to my column quite a while ago when I said that sometimes we’re playing Premier League football in the Championship. We’ve got to mix our game up a little bit, that’s what Watford did under Slaviša Jokanović last season. Now and again you’ve got to go longer, you have to go into the strikers early, because even at Championship level teams are so disciplined and organised that they sit behind the ball and wait for the counter, and that’s just what Wednesday did against us. So to counter the counter, if you like, you have to go in early to your strikers from time to time. And that’s not saying play long ball, it’s just playing earlier, and getting more quality deliveries into the strikers. It’s about adapting to the situation.

It’s a shame we couldn’t follow up that Rotherham win with a good result against Sheffield Wednesday, but the new man of course needs time to implement his style of play. He said he’s not David Copperfield, although I’m not sure who Mr Copperfield used to manage?! We know Jokanović isn’t a magician but he’ll certainly be looking to bring about an upsurge in results. The fans are very excited about his appointment, and I definitely share that optimism. Just look at what he did at Watford last season. 

What we’ve got to do first of all, though, is look downwards rather than upwards and get clear of the bottom. We’re closer to the relegation places than we are the Play-Offs, and although we are a better team than that, it’s so easy to get sucked in so we need to get away from there, which I’m sure we will do.

We’re up against Wednesday again at the weekend in the FA Cup, so hopefully Ross Wallace has an off game against us for once. Some players just seem to do well against particular clubs, and he’s been in good form when he’s faced Fulham, having claimed three assists when they beat us earlier in the season and now having scored a cracking goal at the Cottage. It really was a fantastic strike.

You would assume that Sheffield Wednesday will put out a decent team on Saturday, like they did in the Capital One Cup where they had a good run. I think cup games are important, I really do. A good run would do us a lot of good. If we do beat Wednesday, get a tasty draw and knock out a strong side, that can give you a massive lift. And the fans deserve a lift at the moment. It won’t take a lot to turn it round at the weekend. I think both clubs will field good teams, near to full strength. I’d be very surprised if we don’t, and I would be very surprised if they don’t.

After that we’re on the road again straight away when we travel to Wolves on Tuesday. They’ve won their last three without conceding a goal, so they’ll be feeling confident going into that one. I was at the Cottage earlier in the season when they comfortably beat us. We had Tom Cairney sent off but I didn’t think that really influenced the game because they were far better than us. So we know full well that that’s a big test against a physical side. If we were offered a point now, I think I’d take it.   

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