Sheffield Wednesday v Derby County: Derby boost can be perfect tonic a Luhukay bids to lift Owls

The merest mention of today's opponents Derby County should bring a much-needed smile to the face of Sheffield Wednesday manager Jos Luhukay.

Jos Luhukay: Sheffield Wednesday manager enjoying challenge despite struggles.
Jos Luhukay: Sheffield Wednesday manager enjoying challenge despite struggles.

The Rams were the visitors when the Dutchman celebrated a relieving first league win of his Owls tenure at the sixth attempt in a Lucas Joao-inspired 2-0 win in mid-February.

Everyone connected with Wednesday will be hoping that history can repeat itself today.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Even accounting for their spirited derby draw at Sheffield United before the international break, the precious currency of victory – and ending a grim five-match winless streak that has incorporated four losses – would be a mood-changer today, as it was last winter.

Should that be achieved it would potentially represent another significant development for Luhukay, with the jury still out among sections of Wednesdayites regarding his position.

Despite some vicissitudes during his time at the club in a challenging 2018, Luhukay insists he has been enthused by his head coaching spell in England and would do it all over again.

The Owls’ chief said: “It was a big challenge in a new culture at a traditional club like Sheffield Wednesday. If I had to make the decision again I would make the decision to come to England and work in the Championship.

“I know it is not the highest level and not the Premier League, but the Championship is a fantastic league and a strong league with a lot of traditional clubs who will make the next step to the Premier League.

Owls manager Jos Luhukay at the Steel City derby (Picture: Steve Ellis)

“My motivation and challenge is for me and the team and we want the best success we can have. I came here to not only have a job, but to have what I had in my time in Germany, which was successful – many times getting up to the first league.

“That is also my dream in the future with Sheffield Wednesday.”

After a ‘needs must’ defensive performance at Bramall Lane just over a fortnight ago which saw a hard-fought point justify the means, the Owls will be more attack-minded in their approach today, aided by the availability again of Fernando Foresteri and Marco Matias.

Today is the first of back-to-back home games for Wednesday, who host lowly Bolton Wanderers on Tuesday, with Luhukay aware of the need for his side to make things happen offensively and be proactive in their approach.

Luhukay, whose side have not won on home soil in the league since August 25, added: “I now have two possibilities more for our offensive positions and in our training sessions we have looked where we can have our quality for those and a good direction.

“We are thinking about Marco and Fernando and our strikers and we must make the decisions.

“We must have a good balance between our defensive and offensive work to create chances to score goals.

“In the game against Sheffield United the team did a fantastic job in the defending work. But in the offensive (work) and transition we must be more dominant on the opponent to create chances and score goals.”