New Season, New Horizons?
With the recent transfer embargo slapped on Wednesday it made things more tense than they needed to be, especially with the signing of Nicky Weaver, but what if we were able to find new first-teamers from our youth, writes Robin May.
Think back to last time Wednesday pulled themselves out of the third tier, now ask yourself who out of that squad still remains.
Granted, Tommy was on the bench and was yet to make anything in the way of an impact but he was there knocking on the door.
While he may have had a poor last season Tommy has been vital for us at times and has really come through when we needed him, I'm thinking especially of his goals against the Blades and his stunners against Fulham and Plymouth in recent seasons.
Mark Beevers also began to look like his old self again, playing alongside Purse as he put in some really key headers during the course of our opener against the Daggers as well as turning provider with his key header to give Mellor his first Wednesday goal.
What I'm getting at is can we now expect more from our youth? I think it speaks volumes that the likes of Liam Palmer, Nathan Modest and Luke Boden have all made it to the senior squad.
While we are yet to see a great deal from them so far you would expect that this season they may see their fare share of opportunities and it will be completely up to them as to whether they take them or not.
Going back to last season, Luke Boden was given the chance to go to Northampton where the reports were consistent, stating that while Luke didn't do anything spectacular his ability to pass the ball was highlighted as something of a strength, something that was sorely lacking at times in the previous campaign. Click here to read Vital Northampton's report.
As a Wednesday fan I was disappointed last season at how little emphasis we put on our midfield and our ability to play through it. Even in the opening game of this season we were able to pen Dagenham & Redbridge back for periods of the second half, only for the ball to fall to Darren Purse who seemed oblivious to the midfield entirely and opted instead to punt the ball up-field getting us nowhere. Considering he was present for all of last season he in particular should know better.
So what if we were able to bring in two new midfield players with new ideas. Would this mean that Irvine would be given the opportunity to redefine our playing style to having a greater emphasis on passing?
It's a nice thought when you consider that Beevers and Spurr are already at the back and with Tommy gaining in confidence we may have one of the most organised back lines in the division, and to add more effective midfield to that would make for a much more potent side.
When Wednesdy are able to pen teams back it's only natural for the centre backs to push up. When this happens I generally watch Mark Beevers, recently he seems very confident and often deploys very subtle but well-timed pieces of skill to engineer some time and space for himself on the ball before looking up and supplying whoever is in-front of him.
If we were able to have a wider choice of ball playing midfielders I'm sure that this would encourage the likes of Beevers and Purse to use this time to retain the ball and trust the play-making ability of the midfield rather than hoofing it aimlessly towards the strikers.
One major problem last season was our lack of goals and considering the service they were getting at times it's little wonder.
While Tudgay is surprisingly good in the air for someone his size his strike partner for large parts was Luke Varney. While I liked Verney's energy and commitment he really didn't play well with the service he was given and ultimately it became one of the major contributing factors to our demise.
Looking at our squad last season it really wasn't up to the job at times and I honestly believe that defensive errors aside we would have had a very different season if we had had a more effective midfield.
Take Chelsea for example, Frank Lampard for the past five seasons has scored at least twenty goals for them from midfield, granted that is exceptional considering his ability to also carve out chances for his team mates but it is a very key point.
Last season both Potter and O'Conner were not particularly effective in their own right as a partnership but they were also extremely goal shy. Even if one of them was able to contribute more regularly it may have made a major difference.
Crystal Palace made a big fuss over Victor Moses but very few picked up just how key Darren Ambrose was for them and ultimately his goals were a major factor to their survival.
Changes will definitely come and go this season as the team still needs time to gel but I see no reason as to why our younger players can't be part of that plan. Irvine will have lots of time to assess if they are up to the task and we can only hope that is the case - but only time will tell.
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