Five things to ponder ahead of Tuesday night’s football action

Graphic by Graeme Bandeira.
Graphic by Graeme Bandeira.
0
Have your say

YORKSHIRE’S Championship sextet, along with League One promotion hopefuls Sheffield United, are back in action on Tuesday with the stakes high for all of them.

Here are five observations ahead of the midweek programme tomorrow evening.

1: Huddersfield are in desperate need of a morale boost at Chris Powell’s old club Charlton tomorrow night.

Just over one year on from Chris Powell’s appointment, it’s a case of plus ca change for Huddersfield Town, who find themselves in a decidedly sticky situation at the bottom end of the table.

The fixture list has been far from kind for Town this week, with Powell’s side following up a long trip to Cardiff with another epic midweek journey to face his former club Charlton.

Town are without a win in seven games this season and have scored just three goals in the league and all told, you have to go back 11 matches for their last competitive victory, a 1-0 win at the City Ground on April 11.

The developments are all of the deeply worrying variety for Town and Powell, who has presided over just two wins in his last twenty matches in charge of the club. A victory at his former club this evening would be as big as any he has achieved in his Town tenure thus night. A truly big night for Huddersfield and Powell.

2: Can Rotherham United back up a spirited performance at the Valley at Brighton?

The Millers may, like Huddersfield, be seeking their first Championship win of 2015-16 and be propping up the table.

But the mood in the Rotherham camp is likely to have been lifted by an encouraging 1-1 draw at Charlton on Saturday, although a trip tomorrow night to early pacesetters Brighton is probably not what the doctor would have ideally ordered.

That said, the Millers’ performances have been much better on the road this term than at home. Alongside the point at Charlton, the Millers were desperately unlucky not to take anything away from Nottingham Forest - with the officials not helping - and they had their moments at QPR also.

The Millers produced an impressive performance last term to draw at the AMEX and a repeat of that would do nicely. Easier said than done, mind.

3: Can Leeds United piece together a sustained home performance over two halves?

Leeds’ displays at Elland Road so far this season have been decidedly mixed, with the German style ‘heavy metal’ incessant and aggressive attacking football that Uwe Rosler espoused upon his appointment having not been given much of an airing.

Leeds only made music briefly at the weekend against Brentford, with the visitors looking the better side on the day.

Leeds pepped up when Mirco Antenucci was brought off the bench and partnered Chris Wood, with the Italian notching a quality third goal of the campaign after going on as a replacement.

It has led to understandable calls for him to partner Chris Wood from the start against Ipswich tomorrow in a 4-4-2 system, although Rosler has stressed that the problem for United’s inconsistent display on Saturday was not the system but confidence ebbing away after a disappointing low-key first-half. The German has also spoken about Antenucci not feeling he is suited to 4-3-3.

Just as cogent for Rosler is his side making the early running tomorrow night and sustaining it on home soil, something that they have failed to do at Elland Road for much of this year.

You have to go back to March 4 for the last time they triumphed at Elland Road, eight games ago, when they beat tomorrow’s opponents Ipswich. Let’s hope that is a good omen.

4: Sheffield Wednesday need to cut out the defensive errors that are starting to infiltrate their performances.

The Owls head to Bolton tomorrow night still reeling from a defensively anaemic performance at Turf Moor, which spoiled an at times vibrant attacking show on the road - with the net result being a 3-1 weekend loss.

So solid and resolute at the back last term, the Owls could do with going back to the future in that respect and how they will be pinning their hopes that the experienced Keiren Westwood will return to the fray sooner rather than later.

Wednesday have looked shaky at the back in their last two games against Burnley and Boro and defensive dithering can soon become a contagion.

It clearly needs to be nipped in the bud, moreso given that they are without a league win since the opening day of the season with mistakes creeping into the Owls defensive play, worryingly.

At the minute, they look far from the side who recorded a club-record equalling 17 clean sheets in the league last term.

5: Promotion-winning sides hit back straightaway. Over to you Sheffield United.

While the Blades’ weekend loss to Bury at S2 was not quite a coupon-buster, it was a surprise development all the same.

The bedrock of any promotion quest is home form, with the signs having been good for the Blades in that respect before Saturday.

Colchester call in at the Lane tomorrow, with the fact that the Blades have a home assignment so quickly after Saturday’s 3-1 loss to get back on track something that will be welcomed by Nigel Adkins, whose side can move up to third with three points against the U’s.

Most observers would probably bracket Saturday’s result in the ‘back day at the office’ variety. But as Adkins rightly said after the Shakers loss, the Blades need to have a game plan to combat opponents who are intent on making life difficult for them on home soil and disrupting their rhythm - as Colchester will in all likelihood be determined to also do tomorrow evening.