SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY fans do not need Halloween to be spooked by the Championship table.
Sixteenth place and a solitary point closer to the play-off places than the relegation zone is not how head coach Carlos Carvalhal’s third season in charge was supposed to pan out.
No -one understands this better than the Portuguese, who knows his side badly need to provide a treat for the Hillsborough faithful tonight as Millwall head north up the M1.
“I understand (the negativity surrounding Wednesday),” said Carvalhal. “Of course, it hurts you. We must do better and score more goals. I know how football works.
“But we are not far away from changing things. I can’t be here under pressure or crying, I must give a positive message, must believe in the players and give them confidence, and so the same with the fans.
“There have been a lot of negatives around in the last month. We can turn the things (round) so let’s do it.”
The weekend draw with Barnsley means the Owls have won just once in their last seven outings. Included in that run was the loss to Steel City rivals United, whose presence at the top of the Championship is doing nothing to improve the mood of Wednesdayites.
A failure to take chances when they came along undid Wednesday against Barnsley on Saturday and Carvalhal is considering tweaking his attacking personnel.
Jordan Rhodes, without a league goal all season, could come in for his first start since the 1-1 draw with Queens Park Rangers on August 12.
On the striker whose move from Middlesbrough was made permanent last summer for £8m, Carvalhal said: “Strikers are very particular animals in the zoo, I am talking in a positive way.
We are not far away from changing things. I can’t be here under pressure or crying, I must give a positive message, must believe in the players and give them confidence, and so the same with the fansOwls boss Carlos Carvalhal
“Sometimes things change completely if they score one goal. Goals give them confidence.
“It is different to goalkeepers, the defence and midfield. Strikers live on goals and when they don’t score, it looks like everything is negative. Jordan is involved in the games and did well against Barnsley.
“He made an impact on the game. He is waiting for the confidence from one goal. He needs one goal to be with more confidence.
“But this goal will arrive and the confidence will arrive because we know the abilities of the player. We know he’s a top goal-scorer. I still believe he will score a lot of goals at Sheffield Wednesday.
“When a player scores a goal, they play with more confidence and the fans start talking about good things and the mood can change completely.
“This can happen to all the teams in the world especially with the strikers. We still believe in him. He is involved in all the games because we believe he will score and perform well.”
Gary Hooper and Steven Fletcher have been Carvalhal’s first-choice strike pairing this term, the two having both started the last 11 league games.
“Let’s see,” replied the Owls chief when pushed on the likelihood of changes being made up front for tonight’s visit of Millwall.
“We are happy with the players. They have a good attitude. We know if we play the game like we did on Saturday 10 times, we would probably win nine.”
Daniel Pudil (hamstring) is a major doubt for tonight’s clash with a Millwall side who sit directly above Wednesday in the table, while Sam Hutchinson will undergo surgery on his troublesome knee. Glenn Loovens returns from suspension.
Last six games: Sheffield Wednesday LLWLLD Millwall DWLLWD.
Referee: J Linington (Isle of Wight).
Last time: Sheffield Wednesday 1 Millwall 1; August 19, 2014; Championship.