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Sheffield Wednesday v Stockport County - Carabao Cup First Round

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Fan Focus: Sheff Wed fan James says that manager Xisco Muñoz “is totally out of his depth”

Ahead of tonight’s match we spoke to Host of The Wednesday ‘Til I Die Podcast, James Mappin, to find out more about Xisco’s struggling side. What’s going on at Hillsborough?

Photo by George Wood/Getty Images

Starting back in June, Darren Moore left the club despite just winning promotion, how did you feel initially and how do you feel now seeing him join Huddersfield?

Initially, it came as a shock. Even though Darren divided the fanbase throughout his tenure I don’t think anyone would have had any reason to not allow him the chance to manage us back in the Championship.

Personally, I have no sleight on DM. This is all on the chairman and his inability to manage the situation correctly. The chairman says it was money. DM says it’s down to target. I believe it’s somewhere in the middle.

As for him now being at Huddersfield It’s like when you see an ex in another relationship. He should be with us. Makes me feel sick. That being said I wish him all the best and you couldn’t meet a better person than Darren. No hard feelings.

The man to replace him was ex-Watford boss Xisco Munoz, who is yet to win a game, are you surprised the board are sticking with him?

When you say board then what you actually mean is Dejphon Chansiri.

He calls the shots. He’s the one in charge. And he’s the one who should have already pulled the plug on Xisco Muñoz’s time at Sheffield Wednesday.

Two games against the two other teams yet to win a game and we come away with one point and now the only team in the league without a win. Eight games. Two points. It’s not good enough and Xisco has to go unfortunately.

The ship’s sailed with him and I don’t know how he turns it around to be honest.

Leeds United v Watford - Premier League - Elland Road
Xisco Muñoz managed Watford in the Premier League after guiding them to promotion.
Photo by Mike Egerton/PA Images via Getty Images

With two points in eight games, what do you think are the main factors behind your poor form?

Too many changes, not enough investment, not enough time to implement the changes and a manager that is totally out of his depth and hasn’t got a clue what to do.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing but I don’t see how we would have come out of this situation any different.

We’re in a tougher league with unproven players, a new manager and trying to implement a whole new style of play which has already been canned just eight games into the season.

Sheffield Wednesday were promoted with a highly experienced squad of tried and tested League One players, similar to Wigan, do you think in some aspects that recruitment was quite short-sighted?

It was but I felt like it had to be. As a club we didn’t want to, sorry for this, but do a ‘Sunderland’ and spend too many years in League One.

We tried in the first season, the season where you beat us in the playoffs, to use predominantly Championship quality. It nearly worked but we got ‘League Oned’ too many times for want of a better phrase. Late goals conceded. Poor game management etc.

As a fanbase we wanted a quick return so for me bringing in those League One players meant that we could do that and it was proven.

I get what you’re saying and if we could go back and change it then maybe we would but the goal was to get promoted and we did just that.

Sheffield Wednesday v Preston North End - Sky Bet Championship
Ashley Fletcher joined Sunderland during Chris Coleman’s when the club were relegated from the Championship.
Photo by Alex Dodd - CameraSport via Getty Images

Former Sunderland striker Ashley Fletcher is yet to score for Wednesday since joining on loan - how would you summarise his time so far?

Awful. I predict him scoring a grand total of zero goals for us this season. Let’s move on.

Looking elsewhere at your recruitment, who has made an impact so far and who would you describe as underwhelming?

Considering we’re rock bottom, without a win and only two points it’s going to be difficult for me to pick anyone out that’s made any sort of conviction.

One person who has impressed is the goalkeeper from AC Milan. Colombian international, Devis Vasquez. Incredibly confident. Excellent shot-stopper. And fantastic with the ball at his feet. Very much a modern goalkeeper.

John Buckley came in on ‘Deadline Day’ on loan from Blackburn Rovers. He looks bright and like he can create something. Nothing has come off yet but he’s in a side devoid of confidence at the moment.

It’s difficult to say who’s underwhelmed because I firmly believe it’s down to the manager as to why we are where we are.

Sunderland v Accrington Stanley - Sky Bet League One
Ex-Sunderland left-back Reece James has been frozen out of the current Sheffield Wednesday squad.
Photo by Mark Fletcher/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Aside from the above-mentioned players, who should Sunderland be wary of during the game?

Barry Bannan is the obvious choice but you all know about him.

George Byers is another one that (if he plays) will try to control the midfield. He’s excellent in the tackle. Likes to break up play and can also chip in with a few goals if recent seasons are anything to go by.

The problem is, he’s been out of favour so far this season much to our annoyance.

Tactically, how do you expect Xisco to set up for the match?

I’d have to say a 5-4-1 based on what we’ve played in the previous few games but I honestly good be anything.

As for a style of play, it would be stand off you, soak up the pressure, play out from the back and generally make it very hard for ourselves to get a hold of the game.

Sorry to be really negative but I honestly don’t know what Xisco is trying to do.

Sheffield Wednesday v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One Play-Off Semi Final 2nd Leg
Sunderland’s last trip to Hillsborough secured their place at Wembley, with Patrick Roberts scoring a late equaliser.
Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

Which eleven players do you think will start?

The eleven that I think will start vs the eleven that I want to start could be very different.

Vasquez in goal. Diany, Famewo and Bernard as the three centre backs. Valentin and Delgado as the wing backs. Bannan, Hendrick, Buckley and Musaba in the middle. Gregory leading the line on his own.

That’s how we lined up last time. If anything Smith may come in for Gregory as neither are finding the back of the net and it wouldn’t surprise me if Palmer came in for Valentin, however PV had a great first half vs Boro last time we were at home.

Sunderland’s last win at Hillsborough came back in 2007 - what is your prediction for the final score?

My head is saying we’ll get pumped 3 or 4-0. My heart is saying that we’re going to sneak a 1-0 win.

One thing is for certain is that you’re going to dominate possession and we’re going to be trying to make it hard for you. I think we’ll come unstuck though in reality and it could be the last game in charge for the gaffer.


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