Huddersfield Town v Sheffield Wednesday - Josh Windass heading back to club where it all started
Wednesday’s record in this corner of West Yorkshire is a formidable one. They are unbeaten on their last eight visits and incredibly they have not even conceded so much as a goal.
Windass’s own football story began in Huddersfield. It ended in his exit without playing a single game before getting his career back on track in semi-professional circles at Harrogate Railway – while also working as a construction labourer.
His release from Town was a shattering blow at the time and the attacking midfielder will be able to reflect on coming a long way since when he strides out at the venue for the first time in a competitive fixture.
He said: “It is the first time I will have played there since I was 16 or something, so I am half-looking forward to going back and playing there. Hopefully, I can get a goal and a win.
“I got released when I was 16 or 17. To be honest, they released me when I had a broken leg, so I could not do anything for a while. Everything happens for a reason, I guess.
“I was quite small at the time and then developed. So I was probably not ready to play anywhere near men’s football at the time.
“I do not hold any grudges or anything towards Huddersfield. It does not really matter to me any more. They had a good academy at the time and I had a good upbringing, so I have no complaints.”
Windass returned from a three-match ban for the Owls’ weekend defeat at Norwich, where they were unlucky to lose.
What they did show – and have done consistently under Pulis – is organisation and commitment, even if they do need to keep an eye on their discipline.
Windass saw red in Pulis’s first game in charge at Preston for a poorly-timed high challenge. His fellow midfielder Liam Shaw then received his marching orders for a reckless tackle in last week’s draw with Reading.
On two occasions, Wednesday players crossed that fine line between competitiveness and recklessness. Having seen enough, Pulis has introduced a fines system for any further future lapses of discipline which a side in the Owls’ position can plainly do without.
Windass added: “The red cards have not been for malicious tackles and I would not even say it is a lack of discipline, to be honest – but just a bit of recklessness and stupidity.
“We are in a tough situation at the minute. Getting the six points back has helped us, but we are obviously at a disadvantage.
“In any team, you are not going to do well at any level unless you are solid. You are just going to concede goals.
“Whether you play an attacking or defensive style, if you don’t defend and attack as a team, you do not get better.”
The Pulis style so far has revolved around defensive structure and sporadic threat on the counter-attack.
A starting point has been making the Owls tougher to beat, which Pulis has done.
The next trick is showing more impact in the final third on a consistent basis.
Given the hectic schedule that Pulis has walked into, that is not particularly straightforward in achieving, given a lack of time on the training ground with games, rest and recovery being the order of the day at the moment.
Windass said: “This manager has implemented things well so far and it must be hard at the minute with Tuesday-Saturday games as you cannot really train too much with the team, but just give them information.
“He is doing the best he can and the lads respect him a lot and are trying to take on board everything he is saying. I think we are improving.”
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