Clark sacking casts new light on Owls progress

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IF Huddersfield can sack Lee Clark then other managers must be wondering who is safe.

I suppose Chris Powell can just about be confident of hanging on to his job.

Maybe Huddersfield were annoyed about being upstaged by Wednesday and United.

But for the two Sheffield clubs, the Terriers would be lording it in second place.

Both the Blades and the Owls have done well this season. If only we could get rid of Charlton somehow.

The Huddersfield fan in the office tells me that Clark’s sacking is not as great a surprise as it may seem to some outsiders, and that he’s had loads of money to spend on wages or transfer fees and was in the job for more than three years, so underachieved.

The Terriers finished ninth, sixth then third under him and missed out in the play-final last season.

They had a 43-match unbeaten run which ended this season but results recently faltered.

Huddersfield picked up two points from their last three games. Wednesday have beaten that.

Does two league defeats since Wednesday beat Yeovil at home spell trouble for the Owls? Not necessarily, and what has happened at the Galpharm Stadium should help to put their fortunes in perspective.

A year ago, they were in the bottom half of the table and heading uncomfortably close to the relegation zone.

Thanks to a wise appointment by Milan Mandaric - who says that when he finds a good manager he sticks by him - and good management and a rebuilt squad, the club have sustained a strong challenge for promotion, without having splashed the money around on the scale that Huddersfield apparently have done, and are above the Terriers in the table.

This season should be seen as one of real progress for the Owls. It was never going to be all plain sailing and it is far from finished.

After the Stevenage game, Megson pointed to United’s recent Championship pedigree and wage bill and their £3m striker, Ched Evans: it was not intended as a dig, it was an acknowledgement of what the Owls are up against.

At Exeter last Saturday, Wednesday suffered one of those lapses that can affect any team and fell victim to two free kicks that a relegation-threatened side probably will not produce every week.

Against Stevenage, again it was a defeat by only one goal; the Owls were not at their most creative on Tuesday but the game, against a side who had lost only once in 19 outings, could still have gone either way.

When Rob Jones talked in The Star yesterday about an absence of luck, one of the things he had in mind was the moment when Jermaine Johnson played a terrific low ball across goal at the Kop end and David Prutton and a defender were rushing in towards the net.

The ball was deflected hard towards goal from close range but hit the keeper smack in the face. He knew nothing about it.

When you’re used to winning, setbacks like those last two games can seem more profound than they actually should be regarded in the bigger picture.