ADAM REACH says everyone at Sheffield Wednesday must share the blame for the Owls’ troubled season.
Saturday’s drab draw with Bolton Wanderers – Aaron Wilbraham’s stoppage-time header cancelling out George Boyd’s opener – means the Owls are eight points above the relegation drop zone.
Relegation would be the wrong way owner Dejphon Chansiri envisaged leaving the Championship after pumping millions of pounds into the club over the last two years.
Wednesday’s demise this season – after back-to-back play-offs – has been blamed by some on a poor pre-season and lack of fitness while conspiracy theorists would have you believe that several key players are not allowed to play due to impending bonus payments.
A horrendous injury list cannot be ignored, while Carlos Carvalhal’s time at Hillsborough seemed to have run its course, but midfielder Reach believes nobody at the club should shirk responsibility.
“We are in this position, we are not quite sure how it has happened, but it has,” said midfielder Reach. “It’s up to the players to rectify it.
“We have then to take the summer to look at ourselves then come back with an extra motivation to put it right next season.
“The players are responsible when we step over that white line.
“But I think it’s everyone, from the very top down to the very bottom. It’s not a blame game. I just think everyone at the club needs to take a look at themselves and improve, put it right for next season.
“Ultimately a club like Sheffield Wednesday should not be where we are. It should be achieving what we have been doing for the previous two years.
We are all together as players. It’s not nice to be in the position we are in, but it’s our fault. It’s only us who can rectify that, so we are trying to keep confidence high.Sheffield Wednesday’s Adam Reach
“I am sure we will get back to that next season.
“We are all together as players. It’s not nice to be in the position we are in, but it’s our fault.
“It’s only us who can rectify that, so we are trying to keep confidence high. Against Bolton it would have been massive to get a win, but it wasn’t to be.
“We are still eight points clear of the relegation zone, so just need to make sure that gap doesn’t close.
“We just need to win. You can’t say we can just start playing quality football, it’s not that easy.
“We have got to grind things out. If we had won (on Saturday) the gap would have been 10 points and there would have been a bit more confidence.
“There’s not much we can do, we are trying our best, but it’s not coming off.
“By the time the Leeds game (on Saturday) comes around we might have one or two more players available, which always helps.
“What is going to get us over the line is team spirit and sticking together.
“We just need to stay up. It’s about being realistic. We can’t reach the play-offs, so let’s try and stay in the division and look to end the season with a bit of confidence to take into next season.”
Certainly Wednesday need to improve results and quickly.
They are on a seven-match winless run although that looked like ending on Saturday as former managers Trevor Francis and Howard Wilkinson watched from the stands.
The highlights of the opening 77 minutes were fine saves from both goalkeepers.
First Ben Alnwick did well to parry away Atdhe Nuhiu’s low effort.
The Owls’ Joe Wildsmith did even better to fling himself to his right and thwart Will Buckley’s back-post header.
Then came the game’s main talking point. George Boyd burst clear down the left and fired beyond Alnwick to break the deadlock. The assistant referee had flagged Jordan Rhodes offside in the build-up only for referee Darren Bond to allow the goal, saying the Owls striker was not interfering with play.
Bolton manager Phil Parkinson was fuming although his mood lightened when Owls defender Frederico Venancio slipped, allowing substitute Wilbraham a free header to grab the visitors a stoppage-time equaliser.
“It’s always disappointing to drop two points, we just couldn’t manage to see it out,” said former Middlesbrough man Reach. “We just need to forget about that now.
“For the first time in a long time we have a full midweek to work on things and get ready for Leeds.
“It will help us and the coaching staff.
“They haven’t had time to work on things at the training ground,” he said.
“For the last six weeks we haven’t really done much training. It’s been about recovery and then getting ready for the next game.
“We need to work hard in training and help the players who are coming back some time on the training ground before Saturday.”
Three of those long-term injured – midfield duo Sam Hutchinson and Barry Bannan, plus defender Joost van Aken – are set to play for the club’s Under-23s tonight at Burnley as they step up their recovery programmes.