Olly writes his latest article following the win away at West Brom.
I watched the game on telly at home and was impressed with our efforts in grabbing the three points. We know West Brom are a good team, and have a strong squad bolstered with their parachute payments after relegation from the Premier League, but I think our lads put a decent shift in for that game. We came out of the blocks with the intent on keeping the pressure on Norwich at the top of the table and trying to put some distance between us and the teams below us.
Dowell’s goal was well taken with his first headed goal of his career, and the build-up with the play that led to the goal was fantastic. Freeman has really shone since coming back into the squad because of Baldock’s injury, and this showed the other week when he netted in the first minute of the Reading match. It was his driving forward that led to our goal at West Brom, something he’s always been decent at.
I thought we’d struggle a bit with JOC being out of the frame with injury. He’s been a mainstay of our defence and has showed his prowess with forward overlapping runs, something we’ve lacked since he’s been out. Same has to be said with Basham being out as well. The depth of our squad just goes to show that we have decent cover for these two when they are unavailable. Stearman has come on leaps and bounds, and Cranie is showing his flair since starting in the first eleven. I thought Cranie had a really good game against the Baggies. The only downside is that Egan was subbed just before the interval, so this is a bit of a worry with him and JOC perhaps not being recovered in time for the trip to Swillsborough. I’m sure Bash, Cranie, and Stearman could see the job through though, but we’ll have to wait and see what the updates from CW are over the next few days.
To be fair the referee for that match was not too bad, I thought out luck might have run out when West Brom’s Jay Rodriguez tried to get away with a West Ham style cheat goal with his hand. It was so obvious, as was West Ham’s, but thankfully the official had spotted it and rightly ruled it out.
Anyway, the three points were very welcome to put us into second spot. I’ll be watching the game on Monday against the Wendy’s on my tablet as I’ll be out and about, but they are on a bit of a run under Steve Bruce at the moment. I’m hoping we can put an end to that. I don’t think they will be able to handle our style of play. I know it will be a difficult game, as all derby games are, however I think we can come away from the pig-pen with all three points on Monday. It will be interesting to see who CW fields, but I’m sure it’ll be the strongest squad we can. Will Madine start or come off the bench? I’m sure he’ll get a look-in as did Clarke last season, and hopefully he can score in front of the Swillsborough Kop end to rub their faces in it!
On a bit of a tangent, I’m astounded by the prices that Wednesday are charging the away fans this season. It’s nearly forty pounds for an away ticket, which is much overpriced. Same happened last season as well. I know they are struggling with cash, but when you keep reading about the FSF campaign for “twenty’s plenty”, it does make you wonder why it’s so expensive. My seat on the Kop at BDTBL is nowhere near that amount, plus it’s a much better place to watch football and has a far better atmosphere than the pig-pen!
Three points would be ideal on Monday, I’ve just been looking at the next few games of the teams around us. Leeds fluffed it last night away at QPR, so that’s their games in hand nulled and they remain on the same points as us. They have got a few difficult games coming up though, West Brom at home, Bristol City and Reading away, and then us at their place. I think the banana skin will come out for them in the next few games. The same can be said for Norwich as well. They have Millwall away, followed by home games against Swansea and Hull City. I reckon they will drop points in their next three games as well.
We have to perform well though, to be fair, with games against the Wendy’s, Rotherham and Brentford. Although these don’t sound like really difficult games, we’re going to have to dig in and keep the pressure on Norwich, hopefully pass them on points.
Anyway, here’s looking for a decent win on Monday night. Hope the twelfth man, being our fans, will drown out the Wendy’s and spur the team on as they always do. We do have the best support in the League!
Olly Longden (RFA)
Sheffield United MOD/Armed Forces Supporters Branch