The opposition view: How Sheffield Wednesday will approach Leeds United clash

Leeds United travel to Hillsborough on Friday evening in the Championship - but how are the opposition shaping up for the Yorkshire derby?

Friday, 28th September 2018, 10:03 am
Updated Friday, 28th September 2018, 10:13 am
Sheffield Wednesday manager Jos Luhukay.

We spoke to the Sheffield Star's Paul Davis to get the Owls view...

Sheffield Wednesday are in 10th spot. Who have been the key players so far?

Barry Bannan has magic in his left foot. He pulls the strings in the Wednesday midfield and gets them playing. When he plays well, the Owls play well. Adam Reach can also be a real dangerman. Forget about him defensively, but he's a left-footed creator in the Bannan class. He sees and delivers a pass, crosses as well as anyone in the Championship, isn't scared to pin back his ears and take on an opponent and he makes right decisions. Striker Lucas Joao is the club's top scorer but he can be hit and miss - unplayable in one game, anonymous in the next. Watch out for yet another left-sided player, Matt Penney, who plays at full-back or in midfield. The 20-year-old has made his breakthrough this season and looks like he's been a first-team regular for years.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

10th place represents a decent start. Are the Owls play-off contenders?

I'd have said 'no' at the start of the season, but Wednesday look good going forward at times. If they tighten up their defence - no clean sheets in the league this season - the top six isn't beyond the realms of possibility. After the transfer embargo, this is really a campaign of consolidation. Any finish in the top half would be an accomplishment.

What kind of job is manager Jos Luhukay doing?

Better than a lot of people give him credit for. Remember, he has been able to make only one permanent signing since he took over from Carlos Carvalhal in January. He steadied the ship last season and Wednesday, after a poor start, have started to come good this term. He's quiet but tough. He's brought through young players and hasn't been scared to axe big names. Goalkeeper Keiren Westwood can't get a look-in while attacker Fernando Forestieri will probably make only the bench on Friday night.

How would you describe Wednesday's style of play?

They attack with pace and purpose. Their defending has improved but remains a work in progress. Clean sheets aren't necessarily Luhukay's priority. He says he's happy to win a game 5-3.

Are there any fitness issues ahead of the Yorkshire derby at Hillsborough?

Wednesday had a terrible time with injuries last season and some players have yet to return. There will be no sign of strikers Gary Hooper and Sam Winnall and midfield man Kieran Lee against Leeds. Of this season's crop, centre-half Joost van Aken is definitely out with an ankle problem while fellow central defender Jordan Thorniley is hoping to recover from the calf complaint he picked up at Nottingham Forest last week.

Can you tell us the Owls' biggest strength and their main weakness?

They're dangerous in attack and they have a bit of character about them. They don't lie down when the heat is on. A weakness? Nine Championship outings, no clean sheets. That tells its own story.

Finally, what's your prediction for Friday's clash?

The Owls are undefeated at home. Everyone knows how good Leeds can be. 2-2 in a Yorkshire derby thriller.