Even Jos Luhukay’s most ardent detractors will admit the Sheffield Wednesday manager’s job has not been the easiest.
In his 11 months at Hillsborough, the Dutchman has had to manage an ageing squad through an unrelenting injury crisis, a four-month transfer embargo and a run of six defeats from eight matches which has amplified calls for his head.
But there appears to be another, less evident, problem with which Luhukay has had to contend, and it is one that I am struggling to get my head around.
When the previous Sheffield Wednesday manager, Carlos Carvalhal, left Hillsborough on Christmas Eve, he did so with four members of staff in tow (two coaches, Joao Mario and Bruno Lage, and a couple of analysts, Jhony Conceicao and Paulo Sampaio).
Yet only Luhukay and Remy Reynierse, the 55-year-old’s long-term assistant, were ever hired to replace them, with Lee Bullen (the first-team coach) and Andy Rhodes (the goalkeeper coach later succeeded by Nicky Weaver) adopted from the previous regime – thus turning seven into four.
Costs to consider, there may be some logic to a small scaling-down of Sheffield Wednesday’s backroom team.
But while one coach might not go amiss, it is difficult to fathom how any club in an increasingly modern game can function in the absence of a specialist analyst (that we know of).
And is it any coincidence that, without one, the Owls have found themselves so easily beaten so often throughout the Luhukay era?
Am I absolving him of blame? Of course I’m not. But with the toolbox he was given, was something much better ever really an option?