SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY manager Jos Luhukay accepts speculation about his job is inevitable after a six-game run that has seen the club slide from the play-off places to sit just three points above the relegation zone.
The Owls host Bolton Wanderers tonight in a fixture between two sides struggling horribly in the Championship.
Phil Parkinson’s men are third bottom after taking just two points from the last eight games but it is Luhukay who is facing the flak right now. The Owls chief said: “I think everyone knows in football that when the results aren’t positive, the manager is always in the spotlight.
“But I have been in football long enough to handle that. I know the mechanism in football. No-one has to tell me about that.
“I am the manager and I have responsibility. I will not run away. I will fight for good results, good performances and success for Sheffield Wednesday.”
The Owls will tonight look to secure a first win on home soil since the final Saturday of August, when bottom club Ipswich Town were beaten 2-1.
Wednesday’s only other triumph at Hillsborough came three days earlier against Millwall, who sit just outside the drop zone on goal difference.
With second-bottom Hull City having drawn on their own visit to S6 in August, Luhukay’s under-performing side can at least take solace ahead of Bolton’s visit from having taken points off those teams struggling at the wrong end of the table.
Michael Hector, the loanee from Chelsea, certainly believes the Owls can put recent disappointments behind them when tackling the Lancashire club.
Asked if tonight’s game was the biggest of the season so far, the 26-year-old replied: “Definitely. We need a very big performance and we need a positive result. We need to stop the run we are on at the moment.
The quality in this changing room should be up at least in the top half of the table.Michael Hector
“The players are fit and raring to go. We have put pressure on ourselves to win the next game and Bolton is that game. For us, it is a very important game.”
Hector spent last season on loan at Hull so has first-hand experience of how hard it can be to break a negative cycle of results.
Following relegation from the Premier League in 2017, the Tigers spent the winter not so much flirting with relegation as inviting it in for coffee.
Only a late season upturn in form took Hull and Hector clear of the drop but this time around the defender insists things can be different.
“The quality in this changing room should be up at least in the top half of the table,” he added. “With the Championship, you never know what run you can go on.
“Fulham were in the exact same position this time last year and went on a good run,” said the Londoner.
“With the quality we have and how our players know the league, you never know. Obviously, we have to take it game by game. Then, once at Christmas, we can see where we are.”
Pushed on his experiences with Hull, who were four points clear of the relegation zone at the corresponding stage of last season, Hector added: “It is a concern when in this position, 100 per cent.
“You are never guaranteed to win a game of football, no matter how good you are or how talented the squad is.
“You must work hard. This squad works hard but the luck is not on our side. Not at the moment.
“There will come a time when all these chances we are missing will go in one game.
“Realistically, this side should be nowhere near where we are. We should be at least in the top half.
“Then, from there, we could look at the play-offs or whatever.
“We should not be in this position. The Championship is a league where a couple of wins have you pushing back towards the top half. For me, it is not doom and gloom.”
Luhukay will assess Steven Fletcher’s fitness before naming his matchday squad after the Scotland international was rested for the weekend defeat at home to Derby County.
Otherwise, the Owls have no fresh injury problems ahead of a game that the Dutchman declined to join Hector in describing as the biggest of the season to date.
“For me, no,” he said. “Totally not. With respect, we do not play against the No 1 or No 2 team in the league.
“We play a normal game in the Championship and we will try to do everything we can to win the game.
“We are in November and after the Bolton game we have many games. Every game is important, not just Bolton.
“There is a long way until the end of the season. We know what we have to do against Bolton.”
Last six games: Sheffield Wednesday LLLLDL, Bolton Wanderers DLLLLD.
Referee: J Simpson (Lancashire).
Last time: Sheffield Wednesday 1 Bolton Wanderers 1; March 10, 2018; Championship.