1. ITV Report

Off The Post Blog: Owls must forget about derby defeat and push on

Well that was a bit of a damp squib, unless you’re a supporter of Rotherham United of course. The return of Neil ‘Widow Twankey’ Warnock, some ex SWFC players and a club who have managed to avoid defeat at Hillsborough for over 30 years, Wednesday should have known better… Shouldn’t they?

Credit: Carlos Carvalhal

Going into the game at the weekend there’s no doubt why the Owls were favourites in many people’s eyes, a team in 6th spot in the Championship, unbeaten at home since August and facing up to the third worst side in the league as thing stand. Maybe therein lay the problem going into kick off, complacency.

Now, it’s not something that we have been really been guilty of at all really as it’s been a cracking season building nicely and even now the team still occupy a play off berth. BUT… One thing that is a little niggle is the inability to see off the sides who are the scrappers in the division, now that’s not meant as any disrespect to any other side in the division including the victors from the weekend but they won the fixture through dogged determination and lots of heart. From minute one the Millers were in faces, hassling, closing down space and really making things difficult and it worked. Our defence was shaky, our usually reliable midfield gave the ball away a lot and as a result that nervous appearance resonated throughout the team as a whole, for almost 45 minutes. Arguably the game was lost no matter what happened in the second half.

Earlier in the season Sam Hutchinson was highlighted as a player who had really come to the fore in the side, not a flash player, not a goalscorer but a real cog in the Owl’s team. His battling, combative style allowed others to go forward and do what they do best. It proved how much we missed him on Saturday, we missed that all action, bustling midfielder who just spoils the opposition’s flow. Bolton did it to us; Charlton did it to us at the Valley, Shrewsbury too in the FA Cup and they all got something out of us.

Sam Hutchinson Credit: Press Association

The Wednesday squad as a whole is arguably better than any one we’ve had since the nineties. Barry Bannan, Fernando Forestieri and Aiden McGeady all have the talent to unlock any defence but without someone getting the ball and ruffling the feathers of our opponents they lose some of their potency.

We a wonderful squad and team of players that all supporters of Wednesday can all be proud of this season, no matter what happens at the end of the campaign. We’re so close to accelerating a plan to get into the Premier League a season or so early and as disappointing Saturday was, it’s not the end of the world like some would believe. There are 11 games left of the regular season, all opportunities to pick up points. We have bounced back from these little blips before, the last time we went four games without a win it was followed by a spell of five wins in six games.

I hope the supporters see it as a hiccup, it’s not symptomatic of a greater problem, it was just one of those days. Stay positive, trust the players and the manager. The most important game is the next one ahead of us, not the one that’s behind us.

Terry Hibberd has been a Sheffield Wednesday season ticket holder for the last 20 years and his all time favourite Wednesday player is Chris Waddle. Terry is the editor of OwlsOnline.