Keeping the faith is crucial for Adam Bogdan after World Cup blow
IF ever a week was going to test the mental resolve of Adam Bogdan, then this is it.
After suffering an eight-goal thrashing at the hands of a Robin Van Persie-inspired Netherlands on Friday night he was then axed from the Hungary team to face Andorra on Tuesday as their World Cup dream ended.
The Wanderers number one will inevitably come back to Euxton with his ego bruised – but the question on many people’s lips is will Dougie Freedman opt to take him out of the firing line for this weekend’s clash with Sheffield Wednesday?
Bogdan has developed a habit of responding to setbacks in his relatively short reign as first- choice keeper at the Reebok.
Back in early 2012, a few days after Everton’s Tim Howard had embarrassed him with a wind-assisted lob at Goodison Park, the young Hungarian responded with a string of fine saves at lowly Macclesfield Town to keep his side in the FA Cup the following weekend.
A few months later in the shadow of Fabrice Muamba’s collapse at White Hart Lane, Bogdan produced a brilliant display in an emotion-soaked replay despite a 3-1 defeat.
And just a few weeks ago, his horrendous error against Yeovil Town in a 1-1 draw at the Reebok was followed quickly by an all-too-rare clean sheet at Blackpool and another strong performance at Birmingham.
Bogdan has clearly inherited some of that toughness his mentor Jussi Jaaskelainen had in bucketloads and will need more of the same if he is to return to keep out Dave Jones’ Owls this weekend.
But among the Whites supporters, the question of who should be regular number one still polarises opinion. Rarely in recent years has the ownership of the goalkeeping position seemed so finely poised.
Andy Lonergan may feel himself hard done by to have not racked up more appearances for Wanderers since signing from Leeds United last summer.
Restricted mainly to cup games by both Owen Coyle and Dougie Freedman, his big moment in the sun came after Bogdan picked up a thigh injury in the 3-2 victory over Barnsley in March.
In a five-game spell he kept three clean sheets and many believed him to be unlucky to have been replaced when Bogdan returned to fitness to keep goal in a 2-0 win over Wolves.
Lonergan has made just two appearances this season against Tranmere and Shrewsbury in the Capital One Cup and rumours continue to circulate that the 29-year-old could be offered out on loan as the highly-rated Jay Lynch is pushing to move up from the development squad.
How much we read into Bogdan’s exclusion against Andorra is also in question.
The 8-1 demolition against the Dutch forced national boss Sandor Egervari, the man who made Bogdan his first-choice keeper, to tender his resignation.
Temporary coach Jozsef Csabi brought back experienced ex-Crystal Palace stopper Gabor Kiraly for the Andorra game but also handed out debuts elsewhere in the team.
Hungary would have been confident of victory against one of Europe’s minnows but were also dependent on both Romania and Turkey dropping points.
A night off might even be viewed as a positive thing in the Wanderers camp, who will be waiting until tomorrow before finding out if fellow traveller Chung-Yong Lee will be in the right physical shape to face Wednesday.