Sheffield Wednesday: Bullen praises Owls’ settled backline

Owls coach Lee Bullen was unhappy with the officials after their draw against Millwall.
Owls coach Lee Bullen was unhappy with the officials after their draw against Millwall.

Coach Lee Bullen has hailed Sheffield Wednesday’s “outstanding” defence following their unbeaten start to the 2014/15 campaign.

The Owls have conceded just once in six hours of football, with boss Stuart Gray having been able to field exactly the same back four in all of their matches.

Gray rested goalkeeper Keiren Westwood for the Capital One Cup tie with Notts County, handing a start to Chris Kirkland but former Wednesday centre-back Bullen reckons continuity in selection has helped their cause.

“It’s amazing the benefits you get from being able to play a settled back five,” he told The Star. “The defence has been outstanding.

“We’ve got a lot of energy down the sides with Liam Palmer and Joe Mattock and composure and quality with the two centre-halves.

“Tom [Lees] has come in and settled in tremendously well. We know Glenn [Loovens] from last year. He is a quality defender and a good professional. I think Tom is relishing playing alongside Glenn.”

Nonetheless, Bullen, who coaches the first-team and the Under 21s, admits it was a “hammer blow” for the team failing to keep a shut-out against Millwall in midweek.

He said: “I thought Millwall and ourselves provided a real good spectacle of a game. It was just real frustrating we lost the goal so late on. It was a hammer blow to concede in the manner that we did. But you have to remember that Brighton and Derby were a lot of people’s favourites to push for promotion this season and we took four points off them. We could have been sitting at the top of the league with the other teams on seven points if we had beaten Millwall.”

Wednesday take on a Middlesbrough side tomorrow who are one point and two places above them in the embryonic Championship table.

“Middlesbrough are very up and down at the moment,” said Bullen. “They’ve got a lot of good individual players but hopefully we catch them on a bad day.”