Nottingham Forest take on Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough tomorrow evening in the Championship.
The Reds will be looking to end their winless run away from home, whilst Steve Bruce’s Wednesday will be looking to bounce back from their weekend defeat.
The reverse fixture ended 2-1 to the Reds at the City Ground earlier in the campaign, and will be remembered for João Carvalho’s superb winning goal.
Ahead of the game, Seat Pitch spoke with lifelong Wednesday supporter George Smith, who commentates on the Owls for Sheffield Sports Commentaries Committee. He’s given us the lowdown on tomorrow evening’s opponents…
Seat Pitch: Jos Luhukay was sacked just before Christmas, could you have seen him turning it around after a poor start to the season?
George Smith: As much as I am for giving managers the opportunity and time to turn things around and improve a poor situation, I could not see that coming for Luhukay. The fans had turned against him and by his final game in charge there was probably not a single supporter backing him. His style of play was negative and his decision to freeze out big players, though it was brave, was baffling. That was probably the biggest decision of his that angered the fans.
SP: Steve Bruce suffered his first defeat in charge against Aston Villa at the weekend. What was your take on the game?
GS: Wednesday played very well against Villa on Saturday and did not deserve to lose the game. As Bruce said in his post-match interview, it was “cruel.” The Owls dominated for long spells but could not take one of their chances that came their way. On another day, the Owls would have won and still been right in the fight for the play-offs.
SP: How impressed have you been with the impact Bruce has made?
GS: When a new manager comes in you expect to have that bounce-effect but nothing had suggested to me that Bruce would have this affect. Of course, Saturday’s defeat to Villa was a real shame, especially for him to lose to his old club. However, he’s lost just one of his first 13 games. That’s damn good going. And out of those 13 games the Owls have only played badly in one of them. Overall, it’s been very impressive so far.
SP: Considering the Owls’ resurgence under Bruce, I presume we’re in for a tough game, so who do we need to look out for?
GS: Anyone that comes up against Wednesday right now will be in for a game, that’s for sure. Not once under Bruce have the Owls folded and collapsed in a game yet. They fight tooth and nail for everything. Thus, the determination the players put in is something that Forest need to watch out for. As well as that, Gary Hooper and Steven Fletcher. They blossom as a partnership and they’re finally back together after Hooper spent 16 months on the sidelines through injury.
SP: What are you expecting from Nottingham Forest?
GS: From Nottingham Forest, I’m expecting a tough test. They’re a good side with some very good individuals. But I find them to be very inconsistent and performances can be hit-and-miss. It will be a tough game, though.
SP: Is there a player within our ranks that you would love to have in your team?
GS: If I had the choice to bring one player to Hillsborough from the City Ground it would be Joe Lolley. I rate Lolley very highly and Wednesday, in an ideal world, could do with boosting the wide areas. He’s a real talent and I like him a lot.
SP: Finally, what do you think the score will be?
GS: Based on Wednesday’s performance and late heartbreak against Villa at the weekend, I think the Owls will be desperate to make amends for it. Confidence is high and there is a buzz around the squad again. I’ll go for a 2-1 Wednesday victory.