New midfielder should be top of Owls’ agenda

Sam Hutchinson
Sam Hutchinson

As Carlos Carvalhal has already intimated, he is striving for evolution rather than revolution at Hillsborough.

Solid foundations have been laid for the future.

Wednesday were the sixth best Championship side for a reason last campaign. Consistently the Owls performed at a high level, with Carvalhal making them a hard side to play against, and they boasted one of the strongest home records in the division.

Chairman Dejphon Chansiri is ready to back Carvalhal again in the transfer market over the close-season, but it will be more a case of tweaking than a big overhaul. Widespread summer changes are not high on the agenda.

“We have a good base,” said Carvalhal. “We have a lot of players on contracts. Some of them who were here; some who we brought at the beginning and middle of the season.”

Losing to Hull City in the Championship Play-Off final highlighted certain weaknesses which need addressing if Wednesday are to go one better next year.

On the hallowed turf at Wembley, Carvalhal’s midfield were found wanting. Aside from the opening 20 minutes of the showpiece fixture, Hull dominated that department. Man of the match Mo Diame and Tom Huddlestone oozed class and stamped their authority on the contest.

Sam Hutchinson, preferred to Alex Lopez in the centre, tried manfully to help the Owls combat Hull’s power and strength. He was probably the pick of Carvalhal’s midfield quartet.

But it was one of few occasions where Wednesday looked physically lightweight. At times, it was a bit of a mis-match as Hull outmuscled and outplayed them.

The balance didn’t look quite right, which is why bringing in an imposing, commanding midfielder to complement their small, technically gifted players should figure near the top of Carvalhal’s summer shopping list.

There are times in the rough and tumble of the second-tier where teams have to mix up their game plans to counteract opponents threats. Signing a tall, energetic midfield general would allow Carvalhal to rest Hutchinson, who cannot be relied upon to play three matches a week, and keep the former Chelsea man on his toes. Heck, he might be paired with Hutchinson.

Wednesday attempted 11 months ago to add Rodolph Austin to their ranks. The deal fell through because the Jamaica international was denied a work permit. It is a player in Austin’s mould who the Owls need to recruit now to give them something slightly different.