Sheffield Wednesday take on Wycombe Wanderers this evening in a hugely important Championship fixture.
As things stand, Wednesday sit 23rd in the Championship table. They are nine points ahead of tonight’s opponents and three adrift of safety.
Simply, tonight is a game that they need to win against the Championship’s poorest side.
Quiz: Did each of these 18 ex-Sheffield Wednesday players ever score a goal at Hillsborough?
Neil Thompson has all sorts carrying on above his head at the moment in terms of ownership at Hillsborough, but his focus has to be on matters of the pitch.
This is an opportunity for Wednesday and Thompson has to get the right result.
He’s got a fair bit to weigh up after a heavy defeat to Millwall at the weekend.
We dive into a couple of dilemmas he’s got ahead of this evening…
Getting the balance right
A trip to Millwall was always going to be testing for Wednesday and few can complain about the XI that Thompson went for. However, it was a set-up that invited pressure in the end.
There was too much reliance on Callum Paterson and Elias Kachunga in the final third and not enough ‘link’ players in the side to help the Owls transition.
Tonight, Wednesday face Wycombe and the onus will be on them to take the game to the Championship’s bottom side.
With the likes of Kadeem Harris and Andre Green waiting in the wings, Thompson might be tempted to include them from the start against Wycombe, with the view of really putting pressure on the visitors.
Of course, Wednesday still need to get the balance right and defend as a unit, but there’s little doubt that they’ve got the quality in personnel to do that whilst going for it a little bit more.
Whether it is a switch in personnel or system, Thompson will be trying to get Wednesday on the front foot a bit more tonight.
Lifting pressure off Paterson
The aforementioned pressure on Paterson isn’t proving to be much of an issue for the striker.
Five of his seven goals this season have come in Wednesday’s last eight outings across all competitions.
That included the goal in the 4-1 loss at Millwall, as well as an effort in the win over Bournemouth days earlier.
However, putting too much pressure on Paterson will eventually give. Thompson needs to find a way of getting more goals into the side around him.
Jordan Rhodes is still at the club and will be full of confidence following his winner against Bournemouth, but whether he’s the answer remains to be seen.