RR: So, one loss and one draw to start the season for your boys. It’s early days, but things don’t seem right at Hillsborough considering you were seen as promotion favorites. What’s going on over on the blue side of Sheffield?
MT: The manager can only play one way and we don't do that at a fast enough tempo for sustained periods to cause opposition teams enough problems. Teams know how to play against us - last season and this - and we haven't yet found a solution to the problem, there’s not enough pace in the team. Too may strikers, not enough centre backs has meant a patchy recruitment. We have wasted money and we are now up against the walls of FFP - without PL parachute money.
RR: You have seasoned goalscorers Jordan Rhodes & Gary Hooper, whilst Steven Fletcher sits on your bench. That’s a bloody good forward line from a neutral perspective, yet none of them have scored so far. Will that change on Wednesday night?
MT: On paper our strike force is very good but we don't create anywhere near enough chances for them.
Gary Hooper is more of a link player these days, whereas Jordan Rhodes’ confidence is low and he needs a goal. Sam Winnall looked good on Saturday so hopefully he might bring his energy and directness to the game on Wednesday.
RR: You have a few of our former players at the club. We’ve already mentioned Fletch, but how are Keiren Westwood and Ross Wallace getting on?
MT: Westwood is our most valuable asset. He has been excellent from day one and is a big reason why we conceded so few goals last season. We were so lucky to get him from you on free transfer.
When Wallace arrived from Burnley we thought he might be on his way down but over two seasons he has been very good - not an out and out winger as he drifts inside in the Carvalhal system, and he chips in with some good goals.
RR: Many people tipped ourselves to struggle in this league, but we’ve hit the ground running with two great results already, with former Owl Aiden McGeady being probably our stand out player so far. Are you surprised with how well we’ve started?
MT: You have a manager who knows the league and who gets his teams organised. I never thought you'd struggle but did think it would take time for you to settle in a very different league. It's a bit early yet to draw too many conclusions - your bitter rivals lost their first two games last season but won the league! Aiden McGeady never settled at Hillsborough and he clearly didn't like Carvalhal or his methods but he was very good at Preston last season - if you keep him fit and firing he could be a very important player for you.
RR: Who do we need to keep an eye on in your ranks, and what are your hopes for the season after your disappointing start?
MT: We are really missing Keiran Lee so Bannan and Hooper are likely to be the most creative. No one knows whether Forestieri will be playing as he’s been subject to internal disciplinary suspension. Hopefully Sam Winnall will be as energetic and effective as he was on Saturday.
RR: Finally, a prediction?
MT: I have learned to never make predictions about Wednesday’s results, so I don't!
As for our season, if we can sort out defensive recruitment on paper we have a very strong squad. In 2015/16 the team was greater than the sum of its parts, last season despite signing better players the team was less than the sum of the better parts. So far the team has looked no better than it did last season. We won't be top two, but if we can sort our issues out we should be in the shakedown for a play-off berth, but I wouldn't be shocked if we missed out altogether. Something doesn't quite feel right at the moment.