Dom Howson column: Owls need to turn on the style or gates will keep dropping

Owls defender Tom Lees.
Owls defender Tom Lees.

Bearing in mind it took the Owls until mid-December to record a clean sheet last season, it is truly remarkable that they have already kept 14 in the Championship this time around.

Only a couple of teams have really outplayed and turned over Wednesday during the 2014/15 campaign. They took heavy beatings at home to Watford and away to Fulham but, in the main, the team’s biggest strength has been defence

We all know Keiren Westwood has been one of their stand-out performers. He has produced a series of impressive performances and you could argue the Owls have the two best shot-stoppers in the league in the Republic of Ireland international and Chris Kirkland.

We all know Tom Lees has excelled at centre-back alongside skipper Glenn Loovens since swapping West Yorkshire for South Yorkshire last summer. That partnership, broken up now by Loovens’ ankle injury, has been at the cornerstone of their success. The duo have worked well in tandem, with Lees’ bravery and good positioning complimenting Loovens’ experience and leadership skills.

We all know Jose Semedo has stood out this year. He breaks up attacks, doing a lot of the unglamorous work and keeps things effectively ticking over in the centre. Wednesday missed Semedo badly against Reading and Ipswich Town.

As long as they maintain their form and fitness between now and the end of the season, Westwood, Lees and Semedo will be in the running for the player of the year award (Loovens’ chances have been hit by his injury). Unless something extraordinary happens, there will be no winger or striker in contention for the prize. That tells you everything you need to know about Wednesday’s problems at the other end of the pitch.

The harsh reality is that fans would much rather see goals than watch their side record a shut-out. Football supporters pay good money to be entertained. They want excitement. You can’t beat thrills, spills and high drama.

At Hillsborough, Wednesdayites have been starved of goals and memorable matches this season. By Gray’s own admission, the first half of Saturday’s goalless draw against Brighton and Hove Albion was “dull”. That pattern needs to change quickly or attendances will continue to fall.

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