Wednesday have, undoubtedly, assembled a forward line that is the envy of the Championship right now.
There is a nice blend in attack and Jordan Rhodes’ arrival before the January transfer window shut was a real statement of intent. Bringing in the Scotland international sent out a strong message that the Owls are doing all they can to win promotion to the Premier League within chairman Dejphon Chansiri’s initial two-year promotion pledge.
Chansiri is an ambitious owner and has heavily bankrolled their top-six bid, providing head coach Carlos Carvalhal with considerable transfer funds to make their dream a reality. Wednesday spent upwards of £10m on new players in the summer and have twice broken their transfer record this season.
The big spending spree is partly why the expectation levels have rocketed. Yes, the Owls over-achieved in reaching the Play-Off Final last year but a large proportion of the fan-base expected the team to build on that achievement and be a lot closer to the top two than they currently are.
If only football was that simple.
You would think Wednesday were in danger of going down rather than challenging to go up if you quickly glanced at the message boards. There remains a fair amount of negativity at S6.
Yet Carvalhal’s side are two points better off and a place higher in the division than they were at this stage last term and a victory over Birmingham City tonight will move them five points clear of seventh-placed Norwich City. It is a pretty decent position to be in.
Chansiri has more than done his bit to lift the gloom. He tied Sam Hutchinson and Fernando Forestieri down to new long-term contracts and pulled off a “fantastic deal”, according to Carvalhal, to bring in Rhodes.
There is a good working relationship between Chansiri and Carvalhal and it was very telling that Carvalhal described the Thai businessman as the “the best chairman of my career” in a recent interview on Sheffield Live TV.
“The chairman is a very rich person but he has principles,” said Carvalhal. “This makes a big difference and makes it very easy to work with him.”
Chansiri is a demanding chairman to work for but he has pushed the boat out financially to turn them into contenders. He has given Carvalhal the tools to do his job. Chansiri has done all he can. Now it is down to Carvalhal and the team.