Chris Holt's Sheffield Wednesday Column: Could this be most pivotal week of Carlos Carvalhal's time here?
Carlos Carvalhal's Hillsborough garden has been rosy for the most part since he arrived as an unknown on S6 almost two years ago.
The steep curve in which he carried Sheffield Wednesday meant that even defeat at Wembley to Hull City in the play-off final was a disappointment on the day but, it was felt, merely a bump on an unsignposted road to the Promised Land of the Premier League.
That particular road became a little more treacherous this season, though.
The clear path of unbridled joy in seeing Wednesday challenging again at the top was replaced by an expectation brought about through a taste of what life could be like.
This has been a much more difficult campaign and Carvalhal’s coaching and management has been tested to the fullest.
Gone is the free-flowing attacking football that lit up the Championship and in came a more pragmatic, patient approach, made all the more difficult to watch by teams closing up and not allowing the Owls to play the game that won them so many plaudits last year.
However, there they are still challenging, still in the top six, where they were expected to be and while the football has been far from an Ajax 1970s vintage, the simple facts state that Wednesday are one of the top six clubs in the division and as of this moment still with as much chance of going up as some of the next few teams above them.
That may well be due more to the fact that Fulham made a mess, twice, of trying to overhaul Wednesday, but that matters little.
However, one (albeit superb) win from the last six games is not the kind of form that reaps promotion and Carvalhal is under pressure to at the very least ensure that a play-off place is secured.
Whether that will be enough to see him given the opportunity to have another go next year, only one man knows and, for what it’s worth, it should be, in my opinion.
What would help his cause greatly would be a couple of wins from his next two games.
The fact that they are both derbies, against Barnsley and Rotherham, cranks up the difficulty level.
While it may seem a tad extreme to suggest the season hinges on these two games, there’s no doubting the importance.
Two wins would see the feel-good factor soar again and I believe, do so to such an extent that it will bring enough confidence to ensure that place in the top six won’t be thrown away.
Anything less than four points and out will come what Carlos recently learned were called, the ‘moaners’.
They’d probably be right to have a moan as too many dropped points this week could prove to be catastrophic.
It’s a big week. The biggest Carvalhal has faced since he moved here.
I have a feeling he’ll come through it, with ease.