Jos Luhukay prepares his Sheffield Wednesday side to host promotion-chasing Derby County tonight still looking for his maiden league win in charge of the Owls.
The alarm bells are not ringing just yet at Hillsborough but with just six points separating them from the Championship drop zone, Luhukay will want to get the monkey off his back sooner rather than later to avoid panic setting in.
However, he is battling against the odds. An injury crisis means that he has precious few first team players at his disposal with which to take on Gary Rowett’s Rams side, with the rest being made up of youth players.
The Yorkshire weather and the intense schedule of matches in the second tier – which has been exacerbated by Wednesday making the fifth round of the FA Cup replay, but needing a replay in each of the two previous rounds – has also robbed Luhukay of time on the training pitch.
When asked if the Owls job was proving harder than he expected, he told the Yorkshire Post: “Yes, of course. The team is very small. Every time I have only 12 or 13 players and the rest is from the Under-23s.
“You must always look at which players are 100 per cent. What I have is a lot of players who have not played much in the last six months. We have now a very intensive programme, playing five games in two weeks.
“It is not easy for the players to be 100 per cent when in three days we have another game. We played Saturday then have two days to recover.
“On Tuesday we play another game and then three days after that we play in the FA Cup. It is very hard for the players. You have only one or two [sessions] to prepare the players for tactics and also how we want to play.
“It is very short in time. I have been here for five weeks and seven times we have not been able to train on the field. On Sunday, we could not train because the rain was too hard in the night and there was too much water. Yesterday, there was snow on the field.”
Luhukay is already getting stick in some quarters for failing to lift Wednesday up the table but what is he supposed to do?
He has no real choice about who he picks because he has hardly any experienced players and he has hardly any time to coach the team on the training field, thanks to a variety of factors.
In that situation, the manager has to make do with what he has and use his motivational skills to make the players believe and stay positive.
That is where he will earn his money and if he can engineer a win over former Owls boss Carlos Carvalhal when his Swansea side visit on Friday, he will get a lot of credit in the bank with the fans.
Wednesday fans – what are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below…
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