Season Preview: Sheffield Wednesday

Last updated : 10 August 2005 By Andy Parsons

How did you fare last season?
Just as well as your guys. We got up and that's the main thing. At times we made it hard for ourselves, and against Hartlepool away we came out second best and got hammered. But if you could guarantee promotion at the start of the season, for the excitement you would do it via the play-offs.

How do you expect you'll do this season?
Just below mid table I think. I would like to see us do better, of course I would but we have to stabilise and then move onwards and upwards. If we finish about 10 points clear of the relegation zone, I am sure that everyone will be happy with that.

What have you done on the transfer market this summer? Which of your new signings are you expecting most from?
We have signed defenders Drissa Diallo from Ipswich, Graham Coughlan from Plymouth, Frankie Simek from Arsenal and John Hills from Gillingham. In midfield we have been busy too - by bringing in talented players like Manchester United's Chris Eagles, Liverpool's Richie Partridge and Burton O'Brien from Livingstone. Leon Best will provide cover in attack after signing a month's loan - we are really struggling in attack at the moment. Too early to say about how the signings will do - but we have cover now and that's something we didn't have last season.

Where do you think you'll need to strengthen in the January transfer window?
Difficult to say. I think we have a good midfield and hopefully JP McGovern is back in full flight by then. I have said all pre-season long we need a new striker so hopefully we get one!

Have you any promising youngsters breaking into the team?
Most of our side is young. Glenn Whelan impressed me last season. He is Ireland's U-21 skipper and just gets better and better. Richard Wood will be hard to force out of the team at the back while Drew Talbot - when fit of course - will be a handful for any defender.

Have you got the right man in charge of the team? Will he still be there at the end of the season?
Absolutely - he is a legend at Hillsborough. Anyone who got us promoted from that league will go down in folklaw. He will be here for a long time to come.

Is the club being run well? Are you likely to be singing 'Sack the board' any time soon?
It has been known by many supporters to be honest although funnily enough last season in Cardiff that was the last thing on everyone's mind! Dave Allen is ruthless and gets what he wants. And he doesn't get the credit he deserves for it either. Without his backing in recent years, we may have gone into administration.

Which team do you most want to beat and why?
I think I will speak for all Wednesdayites by saying we would like to beat the Blunts of United. But getting one over Leeds as well would be sweet. After Southampton got rid of Sturrock - you can rest assured that he will want to win that one more than ever on Saturday.

Who do you think's going up?
I think Leeds will have a strong season. They have two good players for every position at the moment and look very handy. Norwich haven't lost too many players and will be a force to be reckoned with. My other tip to go up will be either Ipswich or Palace via the play-offs.

Who do you think's going down?
Despite Wednesday and Hull finishing below a very good Luton side, I think we will both be above The Hatters come May. I think they will find life hard - the step up in class will be difficult. Brighton don't impress me and I think it is time for Crewe's stay in the championship to come to an end.

How do you reckon Hull City will fare in the Championship?
Hard to say but Hull have all the facilities and structure to do well. I think they will have their good spells but it won't be good enough to get to the play-offs. A comfortable mid-table finish I think would be good tip.

Andy Parsons is editor of Owls-Mad.