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Celebration: Joy for Owls players after Reda Johnson gave them a flier.         Picture: Steve ellis
Celebration: Joy for Owls players after Reda Johnson gave them a flier. Picture: Steve ellis
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SHEFFIELD Wednesday’s players have been given top marks by the club management after completing a six-point haul from their New Year double-header and bouncing back into an automatic promotion position.

Boss Gary Megson and his assistant Chris Evans rated the first-half display in yesterday’s 2-1 win against Tranmere as the best of their 11-month reign.

It also came after the team were in commanding form in Saturday’s 2-0 victory at Preston.

A second-half fightback by Tranmere failed to knock the Owls off course after Reda Johnson and Chris Lines gave them an early lead.

Evans said: “We thought it was the best performance first half since we have been at the club.

“We looked at last season’s game against Tranmere when we scored in the fourth, eighth and 20th minutes and won 4-0. We asked them to come out of the blocks very quickly, and they did.

“We got the goals and it was a terrific first half. We created 12 good chances in the game and have taken six points in 48 hours.”

Evans highlighted the importance of the bedrock of fitness laid down by Megson’s tough pre-season schedule in Austria and continued regular running sessons in the Sheffield-area countryside, for Tranmere played last Friday so had an extra day to recover:

“This is when the severe, testing work the gaffer has put these lads through in Austria and Grenoside Woods counts.

“On a winter’s day, when the pitch is a bit heavier and you’re playing a second game in 48 hours, this is where your fitness and mental strength come in.

“In the circumstances and the way we played first half, we were absolutely delighted.

“Of course we would like to have scored more; of course there is lots work to be done; we keep our feet on the floor; we return to the training ground, we try to work on the areas where we know we’ve got to, but at the midway stage I think it would be fair to say we’re in a reasonable position to hopefully get to where we want to be.”