After the controversial exit of Steve Bruce, it was unpredictable what type of start Sheffield Wednesday were going to have.
Two back-to-back victories in the league and a crucial deadline signing of Massimo Luongo from Queens Park Rangers has switched the mood around Hillsborough from envy, to optimism.
With the Owls counting down until their showdown at the ‘Lions Den’ in South East London on Saturday, here are some things we have learnt about Wednesday so far….
Bullen is ready
Lee Bullen is all but ready to take the vacant job. Bullen has gained a vast amount of experience from being the assistant coach to the previous five Owl managers, and his last two stints as caretaker manager has showed he has developed into a capable manager.
His undefeated record between 21st December 2018 and 2nd January 2019 has continued into the new season with two more impressive wins. They saw off Reading at the Madejski Stadium, despite Keiren Westwood receiving a red card on the 80th minute mark; and drew Barnsley back to reality with a 2-0 victory after their surprising opening day victory against Fulham.
After their 3-1 win at Reading, Bullen even admitted that he feels he is “ready” for the task if the chairman Dejphon Chansiri chooses him to be Bruce’s replacement. With Bullen’s connection to Hillsborough, and his recent managerial record, it will be difficult for Chansiri not to choose the former captain.
Dangerous without possession
The way Bullen has setup Wednesday shows the opposition should not take their possession for granted. Sheffield retained only 41% of possession against Reading, and then only 36% possession at home to Barnsley.
Regardless of the limited amount of possession, the Owls still found a way to have 14 and 16 attempts on goal. It shows they can defend resolutely and attack dangerously on the break. They don’t need a lot of possession to create chances, which will frighten the more possession-based teams in the league.
By having Steven Fletcher as a first-team striker, it gives Wednesday the option to mix their style of passing. From the 326 passes they have completed, 73% have been short passes, 22% have been long passes, and 5% have been crosses.
In Wednesday’s opening fixtures they have been able to manipulate their passing variation to become a strength to how they play. Fletcher gives them an aerial threat, while players like Kadeem Harris and Adam Reach have the speed and creativity to hurt the opposition on the break.