Sheffield Wednesday v Millwall: Sluggish start is nothing new for Owls

SLOW starts to the season have become frustratingly familiar at Sheffield Wednesday in recent years.

Adam Reach.

Twelve months ago, for instance, the Owls won just one of their opening five games and were 16th heading into the international break.

Things were similarly bleak in the two seasons that eventually brought qualification for the play-offs, Carlos Carvalhal’s side being 15th at the end of August, 2015, and then 19th a year later.

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This time around, Wednesday have taken a solitary point from the opening trio of matches with the performances in losing to Wigan Athletic and Brentford particularly poor.

Manager Jos Luhukay is demanding a reaction from his players tonight as Millwall head to Hillsborough.

“You must handle the pressure as a professional football player,” he said. “It is the same for the coach when you are winning. The pressure is not as high.

“When you are losing games, you know from everywhere you can get criticism and people are not as positive about performances. You have to handle that.

“We have the chance (tonight) to make a better challenge and do a better game. I expect a reaction against Millwall.

“Our fans are fantastic, I have said that many times before. The fans must see from the first to last minute us trying to win the game.

“When you do that, you always have the positive support. We must give our fans something back, which we didn’t do on Sunday (when losing 2-0 at Brentford).”

Joost van Aken is out tonight with the ankle injury that left the defender in a protective boot after last week’s Carabao Cup win over Sunderland but Adam Reach may be fit despite limping out of the warm-up at Griffin Park with a knee problem.

Luhukay, who welcomed Sam Winnall back to training earlier this week, added: “We have respect for Millwall. They had a very good season last year. They have had success and were in the high positions a long time in the league last season.”

Last six games: Sheffield Wednesday DWLDWL, Millwall LWDDDW.

Referee: J Brooks (Leicestershire).

Last time: Sheffield Wednesday 2 Millwall 1; October 31, 2017; Championship.