Sheffield Wednesday’s result at Huddersfield on Saturday will be a really big marker. Although I fully expect Sheffield United to beat Bournemouth in the later game, they will be a bit disappointed if the Owls get the three points in a real tough one.
All the talk will be about Jordan Rhodes after his four goals in the 4-4 draw at Hillsborough but I feel it’s doing Huddersfield a disservice to pinpoint just one man. It’s unfair on a club that has been pushing all the way for automatic promotion.
That said, Sheffield Wednesday are totally different in that it’s been very much a team effort all season. And in Gary Madine they have a striker hitting form at the right time. People expected him to come back and hit the ground running after his broken toe, but that just doesn’t happen. Such is the pace of games that the difference between being physically fit and match fit is like night and day.
Now Gary is right there. People look at his size and say he’s just a target man but there’s a lot more in his locker than his physique. His first goal last Saturday was a fantastic strike and it’s not the only time he’s hit one like that.
Yes, he’s had some attention off the field, although you’ve got to remember Gary’s still a relatively young lad. He’s come from Carlisle and, with no disrespect, he’s now at a much bigger club where there is a lot more focus. It’s usually when a player’s form is down that people will pick up on things. Remember, too, that players have to go out into the community and things never get written about the good things they do.
Gary seems to be getting his head down now, although there’s nothing wrong with a bit of a scoundrel in a player. It’s no problem providing it’s managed properly and handled in the right way. And for any player, that has to start with himself.
As for his remark about Sheffield United being “nothing really” without Ched Evans, there are mind games played by everybody at this stage of the season. I always feel you are better off keeping quiet and just getting on with your job. But there’s nothing wrong with it in the sense that people are just looking for a positive outcome for their own team.
Lee Bullen (@BullenFootball) was talking to @AlanBiggs1. Follow them on Twitter. Next week: Brian Deane (@deanobri1968)