Should Wednesdayites be writing off Almen Abdi as a waste of money already? Not so, says guest blogger Jack Darlow…
SINCE playmaker Almen Abdi joined Wednesday in the summer I think it’s safe to say he hasn’t set the league alight quite yet, making ten appearances (three from the bench) along with no goals, no assists and two yellow cards. Indeed, his only real stand out performance was the pre-season friendly with Port Vale.
We were generally all excited when he signed for The Owls – but can he still come good for us? Footballers are like apples and need time to ripen…this could well be the case with Abdi. Most fans will recall the Abdi that ripped us apart playing for Watford. We know there is a quality footballer in there – we just haven’t seen it yet.
When a player like Abdi signs I believe they need a three year contract, as was the case with our number 7. The first year to get settled and know the team, the second to get playing more games and see any improvements and a third season to see if he is worth a new deal.
Think back to Keiran Lee’s first season. He made little impact, but he has gone on to become one of our most vital players over the past two or three seasons. So in two years Abdi could be our best player and we may be throwing a new deal his way.
We have two away games coming up against relegation threatened sides in Bristol City and Wigan Athletic, the latter being broadcast live on Sky Sports.
With no Sam Hutchinson for both games due to suspension, the door will be open to either Abdi or David Jones to partner with Barry Bannan in centre midfield.
I think it’s most likely that Jones will get the nod instead but I would like to see Abdi play 90 minutes in one of those games. A game that is not televised may take pressure off him but on the other hand he may see an appearance in front of the camaras as an opportunity to prove that he is not a flop.
How will we do in these next two games? Six points is essential and it should be expected… but this is Wednesday, and we know we can struggle against the bottom clubs. Six points and I’ll be a very happy owl, four points is not the end of the world but anything less than that will be crushing.
Here is my starting eleven for the Bristol City game on Tuesday night:
I know what you’re thinking; “WHAT?! Why not Westwood?”. Even though Westwood is normally the obvious choice, we are playing what I think is a bigger game against Wigan only three days later and Westwood should just focus on that game. Besides, Wildsmith needs a league game to put that blunder in the FA Cup behind him.
Even though Jack Hunt’s knee is fine after the Brighton game I think Palmer should get the nod ahead of Hunt simply because I think he has been better than Hunt this season.
Tom Lees is our best available centre back and even though it’s the less important game it is still must win and Bristol City have some very attacking players such as Tammy Abraham and new signing, Milan Duric who will want to make an impact.
The skipper gets the nod for me. Even though he’s not the fastest player in the world his leadership could be even more important than his performance. I wouldn’t feel comfortable with an attack that Bristol has running at Vincent Sasso. He may have an alright face, but that doesn’t reflect his footballing abilities sadly. He always looks like he has a mistake in him.
This is the perfect opportunity to give Fox his Owls debut. So I would give him the nod ahead of both Daniel Pudil and even Adam Reach who I think should be given a rest before the Wigan game.
Despite scoring a “Thunderchuffer” as it’s referred to, Ross Wallace hasn’t been in the best of form and McMannaman has looked like a decent player when he has played…so is this his time to shine? Maybe so.
The key talking point of this blog, I don’t think I have to say why he’s in but I would like him to play 90 minutes. If he’s having a shocker and we are still drawing or even losing after the first half then fair enough, make the change. But Abdi should be given a chance against Bristol City and Jones can play on Friday.
Undoubtedly one of our best players, Bannan has to start. He may not be playing quite as well as last season but he has improved in the past few games and his only goal this season so far was in the reverse fixture against Bristol City.
Our best player, and finding his best form of the season Fessi surely must start on Tuesday. It’s hard to describe why he should play because it’s that obvious a choice.
Fair enough he didn’t have the best of games against Brighton but look at the differences in the defence of both Bristol and Brighton at the moment…it would be harsh to judge him too much on that performance.
Super Hooper was on the bench against Brighton but Carlos didn’t bring him on. By the time the game comes around it will be nearly a fortnight since that game which is plenty of time to get him from the bench to match starting contention. If he is still not fit enough I would put Fessi upfront and Adam Reach on the left wing.
That is my starting eleven against Bristol City and my views on Almen Abdi’s future…Thanks for reading.