Sheffield Wednesday currently sit in seventh place in the Championship, just four points behind second placed Preston North End, and are looking like they can challenge this season.
Things did not go to plan at the start of the season at Hillsborough with then-manager Steve Bruce resigning just weeks before the start of the season, leaving the Owls managerless going into the first run of fixtures.
They had a somewhat stuttering start because of this under caretaker manager Lee Bullen. They didn’t look like challenging the top two or the play-offs from that start, however, since the appointment of Garry Monk in early September they have been a very solid outfit and look like contending for at least the play-offs.
While last weekend’s result was a bitter pill to swallow having lost thanks to two very late Balckburn goals, they still sit well in the mix for a top-six place, especially with how tight the top-half is this season already.
With this in mind, we take a look at three factors in the Owls’ favour in the race for promotion…
As previously mentioned, Garry Monk’s appointment has seen Wednesday’s defence become formidable of late. They currently boast the second-best defence in the league, having conceded just 12 in 15 games, only bettered by Leeds (8 conceded).
While Garry Monk’s attack may not be as potent as the likes of West Brom’s or Preston’s, their defence gives them every chance of winning every game they go into because if they can limit the opposition to not scoring, it will only take one goal to win rather than two or three.
Most sides that win promotion typically have the best defences and have the characteristic of being ‘hard to beat’. Wednesday certainly demonstrate that and will look to use it to their advantage this campaign.
Experience in their squad
Wednesday’s current squad might be ageing at the moment but what they do have on their side is vast amounts of experience at the top end of the Championship table. For example, players such as Steven Fletcher, Barry Bannan, Kieran Lee, Keiren Westwood, Tom Lees, Adam Reach, Atdhe Nuhiu, and Jordan Rhodes among others have all experienced the pressures of the promotion race either at Hillsborough or other clubs.
When compared with a lot of their competitors, experience massively favours the Owls who have been there and done it in the past, so they can definitely handle when the going gets tough in the final straight.
It’s there for the taking
As it was mentioned earlier, the Championship table is ridiculously tight this season, with nine points separating first-placed West Brom and 15th-placed Derby County.
If Monk’s side can muster a great run together over the winter period, there is no reason why they can’t retain their place at the top end of the table for the season, with the help of the other two factors above.
Wednesday’s next two games could really throw the cat amongst the pigeons as well, as they face Swansea and then West Brom, where wins could see them move level on points with either.