In a season where relegation is looking increasingly likely, Darren Moore’s Sheffield Wednesday put in a strong performance against the division’s best on Sunday, proving that they will not go down without a fight.
Norwich City have blown teams away in recent weeks, deserving their ten-point gap at the Championship summit. However, a struggling Sheffield Wednesday side matched their opponents for the majority of the match.
Norwich’s 2-1 victory was Wednesday’s seventh successive league defeat, but the performance suggested that the fight for survival is very much on.
When Moore took charge, he departed a Doncaster Rovers side who were on a winless run too, leading fans to question such an appointment.
Some deemed Moore’s arrival as a sign that the club were preparing for football in the third tier, whilst others remained hopeful that the 46-year-old’s refreshing philosophy would prevail.
He may have seen three defeats in his first three games at the helm, but the manner of each defeat has been unkind. The Owls conceded a 97th-minute winner against Rotherham United in his first game in charge before Julian Borner’s 29th-minute red card diminished any hopes of securing points at Reading three days later.
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The Owls had a much-needed eight-day rest before the Canaries visited on Sunday, and whilst defeat was the ultimate outcome, Moore’s side showed their Championship competence against the league leaders.
Jordan Rhodes worked industriously from the onset, forcing Norwich into some early mistakes, whilst Josh Windass and Kadeem Harris both got forward well with the ball, threatening the Canaries’ back-line on several occasions.
Fortunately for Wednesday, that is the hardest test they are expected to come across in what remains of the season. If they can maintain the level of performance seen on Sunday and eradicate the basic errors, then they will take this relegation battle right to the end.
Moore certainly has a monumental task ahead of him, but he will take inspiration from their Yorkshire counterparts Barnsley.
The Tykes survived the Championship drop on the final day of last season after being seven points from safety when the season resumed in June.
Even if the club are relegated this season, Moore will be confident in steering the Owls back into the Championship. They possess a squad full of talent and if managed right, they would be a force in the third-tier next season.
Inevitably, if the Owls are relegated this season, some of the squad will be picked up by Championship opposition. But, there will be several players within that first-team set-up who will want to help the club back onto the right path.