Birmingham City v Sheffield Wednesday: Owls goalkeeper protected from blame

PERHAPS nothing sums up the oscillating nature of Championship fortune more than the recent experiences of Sheffield Wednesday.

Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeper Cameron Dawson: Not the one to blame.
Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeper Cameron Dawson: Not the one to blame.

Ahead of last Friday’s home appointment with Middlesbrough, the Owls – then in sixth place and occupying the final play-off berth – were mindful that they could have moved up to joint fourth if they had pocketed three points.

Two defeats on and Jos Luhukay’s side find themselves in the bottom half of the table in 14th.

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A difficult week ends at St Andrew’s this afternoon against a Birmingham City side who have lost just once in their last 12 league matches and are flying under the radar.

Both the Blues and the Owls’ previous in-form opponents QPR have shown they have a strong jaw after reacting well to some difficulties and so Luhukay has challenged his side – missing a number of attack-minded players – to do the same after seeing them suffer successive league losses for the first time this season.

Luhukay, still waiting to see his side register an elusive first clean sheet of the Championship campaign, said: “When you are not in a good position in the league you must fight back to get in a better one and that is what we must do now. That is the reality for us.

“In this league you can lose two (successive) games and it is not so easy to say, ‘okay, we will stay there (in the top six)’.

“That was our intention, but in the last two games we have not been defending enough in a good direction.

“We must learn from that and fight to get a better position in the league.”

Luhukay has leapt to the defence of goalkeeper Cameron Dawson and says that individual mistakes as opposed to his own performances between the posts have been the reason for the concession of five goals in consecutive defeats to QPR and the Boro.

The Dutchman added: “We speak now about our goalkeeper, but for the two games away (before) nobody spoke about that and why he made very good performances.

“People only look to the last two games and the goals that we let in. It was individual mistakes from players and not from Cammy.

“We must focus on the team and not especially on one or two players.”

One of those aforesaid players who made a mistake was captain Tom Lees, who found himself demoted to the bench at Loftus Road in midweek following his costly mistake in the televised loss to Boro.

While it will have represented a blow to the pride of the centre-back, a near constant when fit and available since joining the Owls in August, 2014, Luhukay is confident that he has the mentality and resolve to earn his place back in the team.

“Tom is a fantastic captain and has a great character,” said the Hillsborough chief.

“He is available for every game and is not unavailable.

“In the time I have been here he has played every game and only one time where he did not. There is no discussion.”