View From T'Other Side: Barnsley v Sheffield Wednesday

Last updated : 29 February 2008 By Rob Miles (barnsley Boy)

1. After last seasons late surge to the verge of a play-off place, what's happened this season to see you struggling?

It's mainly what happened before the season! Selling Steve MacLean wasn't ideal, selling Chris Brunt was a step too far. Even then there was still optimism around the club but then there was the infamous press conference with our much-loved ex-chairman Dave Allen which just put a downer on the whole club. Then obviously we went down to Ipswich on the first day, conceded a penalty in the first thirty seconds and went on to lose 4-1! I think we started to realise it wasn't going to be an easy season...

2. Wednesday lost the first six games of the season; did support for Brian Laws severely waver in that time?

Funnily enough it didn't that much. Everyone knows the main reason why we were in such a mess is because rather than getting a couple more quality players to compliment our exciting young squad instead we began selling the family silver. And everyone knows this is because of the board and Laws. The backing of the manager was evident when we finally got the crucial first win against Hull and that was a massive relief.

3. And on that note is Laws the right man for the job?

Despite the widespread support for Laws it's fair to see opinion is divided over Laws. I personally think he has done a cracking job considering the lack of resources at his disposal but others have criticised the signings he has brought in. If this takeover does happen I'd love to see him given a proper chance with a bit of money to spend. Even those who wouldn't be sad to see him go haven't come up with any decent replacements and I think they realised stability is the most important thing at the moment.

4. There's been massive arguments between Dave Allen and fans, how do you feel that's affected the club and what's happened there?

I've already discussed the stuff that happened in the summer but the ongoing wranglings between the board and 'Wednesdayite' (aka the Owls Trust) have certainly been a dark cloud over the club for a long time. Ultimately fans who supported neither Allen nor W'ite just wanted to see the bickering stop and some actual constructive conversation to happen instead, but the history between the two meant this was never going to happen. Allen stepping down has provided a chance for a transparent relationship to develop between W'ite and the board but again there seems to be a fair amount of bitterness on both sides. We all want what's best for Sheffield Wednesday but sometimes you wonder if these people are more interested in their own interests than the club.

5. Beating Sheffield United obviously means most to Wednesday fans but what would beating Barnsley mean to you personally?

As a non-Yorkshireman who only moved to Sheffield six months ago it's fair to say the local rivalry is something I'm getting acclimatised to. Obviously a win over Sheffield United is massive and even if you lived on Mars you'd know how massive that game is. While we'd much rather get a win over them, it's always nice to beat your other local rivals and Barnsley are a team we seem to do well against anyway! I think the fact that we're taking over 6,000 fans on Saturday shows we're desperate to win this game - there may not be the most intense of rivalries between the clubs but it's still a big game.

6. What do you make of Barnsley's season so far?

Pretty up and down I guess! I think when we played you at Hillsborough you'd had a good start to the season and were pushing for a play-off spot. I don't know if losing to Wednesday was the beginning of the slump but I do know you went about six games without a win over Christmas which dragged you down the table a bit. I think the main thing so far this season would be that you can't seem to put a run of wins together which has pulled you towards the lower end of the table. Obviously the Cup exploits go without saying and I was as pleased as anyone to see you beat Liverpool. Just hope you've got Chelsea in mind on Saturday!

7. How do you reckon we will get on against Chelsea? Can we beat them?

I read in the paper today that Chelsea are a club in crisis so you must be favourites right? No seriously I really hope you give them a good game and they're certainly there for the taking. It seems all is not well at Stamford Bridge at the minute but having said that the FA Cup is probably their biggest remaining chance of silverware this season. With the Oakwell crowd behind them I reckon you can grind out a 1-1 draw.

8. Who do you see as Barnsley's Dangermen?

Brian Howard is the obvious one, and anyone who saw his goal against Liverpool can see he's not a bad player. Just a shame he didn't get booked on Tuesday! I've always been a fan of Nardiello but I hope he continues his poor run in front of goal, and I also think Luke Steele is an excellent keeper.

9. And who should we look out for in the Wednesday team?

Jermaine Johnson would have been the obvious one as he is an exciting player but his suspension is a big blow. Our two most consistent players of late have been Marcus Tudgay and young Mark Beevers. Tudgay has been the only one of strikers who has stayed fit all season and he has done extremely well despite having no partner and no service for much of the season. Beevers is already being heralded as a future England player by some Wednesday fans and he plays like an experienced centre back not a lad who has just turned 17 - he's also a Barnsley lad so I'm sure he'll be keen to have a good game.

10. Score Prediction for Saturday?

Am I allowed to sit on the fence? I reckon 1-1 but if we could get a win I'd be delighted.

11. Where do you see both sides finishing this season?

Not far above the bottom three! I'll be delighted if we finish fourth bottom that's for sure. As for Barnsley I think if you had an out-and-out goalscorer you'd be fine but a lack of goals could see you getting dragged into the relegation battle. I think there are at least four or five poorer sides than yourselves though so you should be OK.

12. Whose going up and whose going down?

If I knew that I'd be down the bookies now! It's a very tight league; anyone can beat anyone so it's really anybody's guess. West Brom are the best team I've seen this season from what I've seen on TV even though they have a tendency to try their best to mess it up. I think Stoke will join them in the automatic spots and Ipswich will sneak up in the playoffs. Scunthorpe, Colchester and Southampton to go down. Please!!

To read my answers to Craig's Questions click here