Date: 18th October 2009 at 5:59pm
Written by:

Criticism and praise has been flying about left, right and centre in the Wednesday camp this season, but there’s one name which has gone pretty much unnoticed.

James O’Connor.

Now, at the start of the season this may well have been pretty pleasing for the former Burnley man, who was subject to some criticism of his own for some below-par performances last season.

He started brightly enough in the Owls engine room, but tailed off somewhat towards the end of the campaign, and took on that good old role of being scapegoat for a few weeks at least.

Now the blame is being placed elsewhere – Purse, Buxton etc. – and O’Connor has been going relatively unnoticed about his business in the middle of the park.

But, for me, O’Connor should be getting as much of a mention for his top drawer performances in the blue and white this season than Purse and co. have been getting for their mistakes.

It may well start to come soon after he put in a man of the match display against Coventry City on Saturday afternoon, winning a penalty with some neat footwork inside the box and generally having a good afternoon in the Wednesday midfield.

His performance wasn’t just a one-off though, he’s been improving week on week since the start of the season and slowly but surely kept the scapegoating Wednesdayites off his back, with even a little praise thrown in there too.

O’Connor’s never going to be a pretty, showboating central midfielder by any stretch of the imagination. He was brought to the club to do the so-called dirty things that others wouldn’t.

He was never going to wow us, despite his moment of quality which won the penalty against the Sky Blues, he was never going to bag a certain amount of goals in the season or produce defence-splitting passes week after week.

What O’Connor had going for him when he arrived at S6 was that, much like his performances, with all due respect, he wasn’t a ‘wow’ signing, and he had little to prove…a lot of people knew what to expect of him.

After a bright start that tailed off and, much like last season, O’Connor started this much the same, with people not expecting much, if anything from him, and he’s proved those doubters wrong.

Now he just needs that consistency to show that all through the season, and hopefully he will.

He’s been all over the park this season, doing the things he’s been told to do correctly, and more than making up for the mistakes that others around have been making, especially Potter.

Crunching tackles, tracking back, making a nuisance of himself, and powering the Owls engine room have been his qualities this season, and he’s thrown some good passing and forward runs into his game too.

Wednesday have failed to have a dominant force in the middle of the park in recent seasons, something which is no doubt key in any successful team, but maybe, just maybe, they’ve found that man in O’Connor this season.

Keep it up, JoC!