Is fate building us up for a derby day turn-around?

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IT feels like someone or something is setting things up, as though the football fates are planning a special surprise.

Three games in a week each, three wins for one side, three defeats for the other ahead of the second Sheffield derby of the season.

United, in the space of seven days, have emerged not only as prime contenders for the second automatic promotion spot but are getting to the point where their fans are starting to dream of a title challenge.

Wednesday on the other hand have been going backwards as fast as they can.

Three uninspiring defeats to Exeter, Stevenage and Chesterfield makes it look like Gary Megson’s side are running out of steam at exactly the wrong time.

United marching on.

Wednesday hanging on.

Since their brace of defeats against Charlton and Birmingham, the Blades have beaten Wycombe, Huddersfield and Preston, one a cruise, one a scrap and the other a smash and grab.

Promotion form or what?

Not only that, they have three eminently winnable games to come after Sunday - when they could be 11 points above their fiercest rivals - hosting bogey side Scunthorpe and Oldham and travelling to Walsall.

Wednesday have games against Rochdale, Bury and Bournemouth, but the odds are stacked in United’s favour to be out of sight by mid March if they can win on Sunday.

But that’s the problem. A Blades win would be just too good to be true.

Their run of victories will mean very little on Sunday.

Wednesday, fired by their fans’ ferocity and a determination to get back in the race, will be a fearsome prospect.

A full house with memories of the two-goal comeback at Bramall Lane stamped into the DNA of their season, the Owls will probably play on the break and prosper.

Unless United really are the real thing, Wednesday will thrive.

If United do come through this sternest of tests with even a point they are set fair for that second automatic place, home for tea and medals by early May.

This column predicted the 2-2 in October and is forecasting a 2-1 Owls win on Sunday.

Or is that just tempting fate?

The disturbuing farce in Munich on Saturday night took all the headlines and understandably so when one man smashes another with a camera tripod and the second threatens repeatedly to shoot the other - in a press conference. Not very classy, lads.

Compare that to the dignity, bravery and sportsmanship of one Jason Booth on Saturday night at Magna. Outboxed but still landing the punch of the night, Booth sat on the edge of the canvas post-fight. Gap-toothed and battered, he spoke in warm, respectful tones about his conqueror, Kid Galahad. Booth, who has known the highs of a world title fight and the lows of alcoholism, did himself and his sport great credit when other, bigger earners were doing their worst to drag it through the gutter.

The next time anyone tries to convince you that Scottish football is anything but irrelevant ask them this.

In which other league in world football could the team second in the table be deducted ten points and stay second, six points above third place?

Answer: None. How long before we have Rangers and Celtic in the Premier League or Championship so they can make a decent living?