Can Irvine Get Magic From Potter?
Can Alan Irvine turn Darren Potter into a different player in League One this season? Vital writer Robin May has his say on the Owls' midfield man.
I wasn`t surprised on Saturday when the starting eleven was announced and Darren Potter was not on it.
Considering what Giles Coke was able to do I would expect Darren to get a more permanent place on the bench. When Potter came on (in fairness) he was replacing JOC who wasn`t having the best of days - however, all Darren seemed to add to the game was his signature five yard pass to the side.
Saturday, despite the good result, we did play poorly at times in the second half with quite a few long balls going nowhere into the attacking third and at times a complete lack of movement from some of the players.
While I know it will take time for the team to gel and for playing styles to be fully understood and catered for, there were a few major things that need to be resolved quickly.
I was impressed with Gary Teale, however for those that saw him up close whenever he didn't have the ball he seemed to be screaming for it in acres of space, especially in the second half and unfortunately both Spurr and Potter seemed to be oblivious at times and often dwelled on the ball wasting a good opportunity.
With the likes of Spurr I believe this is down to confidence issues and hopefully if we progress as planned this season he should complement Teale well.
On the other end of the scale I've seen Darren Potter play like this for most of last season and it's very rare that he plays a ball forward or makes a penetrating pass, in fact within thirty minutes of play Giles Coke had already managed to successfully switch the sides of the play as well as being able to pass the ball into space for players to run onto, far more than Potter ever seems to do.
Darren has had more than enough time to show us what he can do, or can`t for that matter, so possibly Irvine may have a plan to re-invent Potter and change how he plays.
When potter was brought to the club Brian Laws was quick to point out how many completed passes he was able to do on average during a match. He failed to mention that these passes were at a maximum of 10 yards and always straight to one side.
During the time I have seen Darren play he has never really seemed to play like the play-maker he was billed to be and I think now Wednesday fans are entitled to a change as I can honestly say he has not been effective for some time now.
With the current lack of investment it`s important we do not have any passengers, we do have a good squad but we lack the depth to include players that do not play to their full potential when called upon.
Think back to last season, we managed to beat Leicester City 2-0 and Jermain Johnson had a fantastic game and was arguably the best player on the pitch.
However this was the first game where I noticed a real change in Johnson, apart from using him as a lethal counter-attacking player he just looked that bit sharper and seemed to know what to do with each different situation and it was obvious to me he was playing with a really focused purpose. It seemed to have been drilled into him very effectively making what he was doing much more natural, meaning he didn't panic or dwell on the ball he just did it.
I believe that Irvine was able to successfully get the best out of Johnson and that when his injury blow hit us towards the end of last season it was the difference between success and failure at times.
With this in mind could Irvine possibly be able to find Potter's potential?
Even though it is early days I was impressed with what I saw in some of the players, Purse looked solid and much more like a captain that knew what he was doing. Buxton looked good despite having poor distribution the covering between him and Sedgwick was very impressive, he particularly impressed when he ran the length of the pitch after what I thought was a futile ball up-field, he managed to get a corner out of so fair play to the lad.
Considering that Purse and Buxton were two major contributors to our poor form at times last year I was impressed with the change in them, people may be quick to point out that we were facing a poor opposition but let's not forget last year we were dumped out of the cup by Port Vale with a similar back line.
I have to admit as hopeful as I am about Wednesday I am really not sure Darren Potter has what it takes and I am not convinced that Irvine will manage to get Potter playing to the potential he has already managed to find in some of the other players.
I hope Potter shows us all what he is really capable of but at the moment, I'm unconvinced.