There’s so many football clichés flying around at this time of the season and for the Owls on Tuesday night at Hillsborough against Blackburn Rovers it was about winning ugly.
Some may suggest that last weekend in the Yorkshire derby against Huddersfield it was a similar game but I’d argue it was more tactical and well planned. Either way, a fourth consecutive win for the first time this season has put us within one point of Hull City in fourth place in the Championship and the dream of sneaking into contention for an automatic spot isn’t dead and buried.
However, before getting too carried away with things, catching Burnley and Middlesbrough with just six games to go and an eight-point deficit to make up is a long shot but it’s much like the story of the season. The Owls have sort of sneaked under the radar as potential promotion candidates to many, even as late in the day as this week we weren’t mentioned even in dispatches in an article about who could step up to the Premier League. It was all about Burnley, Middlesbrough, Brighton or Hull City as the teams who are contesting promotion, not Wednesday or Derby County; although over the past few weeks The Rams have looked to be picking up their mantle of perennially stumbling from an advantageous position in the table.
I have no doubt if that previously alluded to article was seen by Carlos Carvalhal he would have enjoyed it, it suits the mantra set from the start of this season by our Head Coach who continually refutes promotion chatter. It has been about taking each game on it’s merits, not getting ahead of ourselves and thinking of what might be but while the players and management stay grounded, as fans we can be allowed to dream of what could still happen…. Can’t we? Surely it would be extremely remiss of the supporters at least to cast off all hopes of catching the top two as the ultimate prize this campaign.
Over the past three games we’ve been without Barry Bannan who has become the heartbeat of the midfield as the season has wore on, without question he is a player we missed but it’s a measure of the belief and ability within the squad to see Alex Lopez who looked uncomfortable earlier in the campaign stepping up with arguably two man of the match performances in the last two outings. This weekend as we travel to Bristol City, Bannan comes back into contention and Carvalhal has a problem; but what a problem to have.
The feeling around is one of enjoyment from the supporters; this is a position that has been an unknown for so long. Compare some of the players we have now to what we had say seven or eight years ago and it’s almost like we have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to our squad, but such is the job that everyone has done at the club that I don’t think many of the fans are actually allowing their minds to wander like our Head Coach isn’t allowing within the club. Even we are ‘taking each game as it comes’ and well, it’s working, so I say.. Long may that continue… ‘It’s a marathon not a sprint.’
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.