Match Preview | Sheffield Wednesday vs. Cardiff City
Mick McCarthy’s City side head to Hillsborough on Easter Monday to take on Sheffield Wednesday (kick-off: 5:30pm).
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Mick: It’s what you do with the disappointment
Following our Good Friday fixture with Nottingham Forest, Mick McCarthy spoke of the importance of remaining positive and bouncing back against the Owls on Monday evening.
“I said to the players: ‘I’m disappointed, you’re disappointed, but it’s what we do with that disappointment.’ There are more positives around here than there are negatives, that’s for sure.
“There’s not a lot been going wrong; we’re talking about a 45-minute performance against Forest where we didn’t play as well as we have in the past two months.
“Then I thought the second 45 minutes were much better. Whether we did create enough clear-cut chances to deserve something, I don’t know, but we were certainly the better side in the second half.
“So, we’ll go to Sheffield Wednesday and try to replicate the second half, rather than the first half.”
Season so far
It has been a turbulent campaign for the Owls, which began with a twelve-point deduction that was later reduced to six, placing them in a relegation fight from the very first days of the season. Wednesday have fought their way off the foot of the table to be in with a fighting chance of survival, but urgently require a string of victories to maintain their Championship status. The Owls sit in 23rd spot with 32 points to their name, seven adrift of Coventry City in the all-important 21st position.
The club have had three permanent managers and one long-term caretaker boss throughout the term. Garry Monk started the season in the Hillsborough dugout, but was replaced by Tony Pulis in November. The Welshman lasted just 45 days in the role before he was dismissed, with caretaker manager Neil Thompson taking charge on a temporary basis. Thompson’s tenure lasted for 13 matches and over three months, before the Owls appointed ex-West Bromwich Albion and Doncaster Rovers manager Darren Moore back on March 1st.
Since Moore’s arrival at the club, Wednesday have lost four, won one and drawn one of their six matches. The 46-year-old came into the job as the Owls were enduring a seven-match losing run, which, after defeats to Reading and Norwich City, Moore’s men were finally able to halt on March 17th. A 1-1 draw with Huddersfield Town ended Wednesday’s losing streak, and a 2-1 win over high-flying Barnsley soon afterwards boosted their survival credentials. However, the Owls returned to action after the international break with a defeat, falling 1-0 to Watford on Friday afternoon.
Ones to watch
Jordan Rhodes has re-found his goalscoring touch this term, and is currently enjoying his joint-most prolific season for six years. The Scot has found the back of the net on six occasions during the Championship campaign, the same tally that he recorded whilst on loan at Norwich City in 2018/19 and whilst with Middlesbrough in 2015/16. The 31-year-old netted a vital brace to beat Play-Off chasing Barnsley during Wednesday’s last win, and also provided an assist during the Owls’ recent draw with Huddersfield Town.
Adam Reach adds both versatility and attacking ability to the Wednesday lineup, having been deployed across the pitch during his time at Hillsborough. The 28-year-old, who joined the club from Middlesbrough in 2016, has featured in 26 league matches for the Owls this season, netting three goals and providing two assists. Despite being most prominently used as a left winger this term, Reach has played a number of games at left-back throughout his career, and can also operate on the right flank when required.
Tom Lees arrived at Wednesday in 2014, and has since racked up over 250 appearances for the club. A powerful central defender, the 30-year-old missed a number of matches at the beginning of the campaign through injury and suspension, but has started every league fixture since November 21st. That period has seen the Owls pick up five clean sheets, with Lees scoring once, against Coventry City in a vital 1-0 win, and also assisting once, during a similarly significant 1-0 victory over Derby County.
Away day action
The Bluebirds recorded an entertaining win over the Owls at Hillsborough last season, picking up a 2-1 victory against a side who were sitting in 4th position in the Championship table at the time. In City’s last fixture of the decade, well-worked early goals from Robert Glatzel and Junior Hoilett put the visitors in a commanding position, before Tom Lees pulled one back for the hosts. A spirited second-half display helped the Bluebirds prevent Wednesday from equalising, securing a deserved victory.
Wednesday’s last victory on home soil against City came back in April 2017. On that occasion, Carlos Carvalhal and his side were chasing a Play-Off spot, and picked up an important three points to boost their march into the top six. Fernando Forestieri scored the only goal of the contest late in the game to hand Wednesday a 1-0 victory, which helped them to eventually secure 4th spot on the final day. However, the Owls went on to suffer Play-Off defeat at the hands of eventually promoted Huddersfield Town.
The Bluebirds will be looking to claim their eighth win at Hillsborough on Monday evening, having first played at the stadium in 1920. City have twice recorded a 3-1 scoreline at the home of the Owls; in 1976 and in 2005. On the latter occasion, goals from Jason Koumas and Cameron Jerome (2) handed the Bluebirds an impressive win at Hillsborough, their first in almost 30 years.