Jon Newsome's Sheffield Wednesday Column: Despite superb winning run, play-offs race will still go to the wire

Sheffield Wednesday players celebrate Fernando Forestieri's winner against Cardiff

Sheffield Wednesday players celebrate Fernando Forestieri's winner against Cardiff

0
Have your say

With just three games to go, and only 9 points to play for Sheffield Wednesday sit in a relatively healthy fifth spot in the championship.

They have put together a winning run of four consecutive matches with some outstanding performances most notably against Newcastle and then on Easter Monday down at Loftus Road.

Owl boss Carlos Carvalhal

Owl boss Carlos Carvalhal

Over the Easter period the games come thick and fast and the fact that a number of the injured players are back in the fold has allowed Carlos Carvalhal to change his line up on every occasion. Some see this as tinkering, others see it as good management, utilising the fitness of players and the size of the squad but whatever your view is, with 12 points out of 12, there can be no disagreement that it has worked.

The visit of Cardiff was always going to be a totally different type of game to the preceding Newcastle fixture. Neil Warnock would undoubtedly set up his Cardiff team to be difficult to beat and to try and frustrate not only the players but the fans as well. It's well documented that Mr Warnock isn’t on many, if any, Wednesday fan's Christmas card lists and he has had a knack of ‘raining on our parade’ of late at Hillsborough.

I thought that we started the game in a pretty positive fashion and the effort after about 15 minutes by Ross Wallace that nearly sneaked in would have been the perfect start for us, furthermore, it would have ruined Cardiff's game plan and I think we would have seen a very different game. Unfortunately this wasn’t to be and the game went just as I imagined it would have, benefited by a shocking refereeing display it had all the hallmarks of it being a very frustrating afternoon stalemate.

What cannot be underestimated is the depth of quality that Carlos Carvalhal has to choose from this season, especially in the attacking department. When you are able to bring on the likes of Jordan Rhodes and Fernando Forestieri as second half substitutes it doesn’t half help matters and it was an excellent initial strike by Rhodes that resulted in Forestieri capitalising on the second ball and scoring a superb winner. It wasn’t a great performance from us, partly due to being stifled by Cardiff's tactics but it was an excellent three points and as I have said before, at this stage of the season it is all about getting over the line.

Daniel Pudil scored the winner against QPR

Daniel Pudil scored the winner against QPR

Onto, what looked like on paper to be a tricky trip down to Loftus Road. I think one of the major factors in the Championship is that anyone can beat anyone else. With this in mind I was hoping that a decent performance would get us something out of the game, dare I hope for three points? By the sounds of it we produced a thoroughly professional performance, scored a couple of good goals and created some decent chances. Defensively we looked pretty solid and to come away with the spoils was a fabulous result. It really has opened up the race for those play-off positions and with the other clubs around us dropping points here and there it just shows you how important the last few wins have been.

A few games back when we had suffered defeat up at Elland Road it looked as though we would be hard pressed to catch Leeds United and yet here we are, currently sat fifth with just three matches left and Leeds have dropped out of the play-off positions. For me, it’s a three horse race between ourselves, Fulham and Leeds. With only two places up for grabs it looks like it will undoubtedly go down to the final game of the season. Leeds have had a little stumble of late and on the contrary Fulham have looked really strong, but can you read into any of this? I don’t think you can. Each game is a cup final from now on and anything can happen - look at the hammering Norwich gave Reading? I do not think anyone saw that coming, but it does return me back to the comment earlier, that anyone can beat anyone else on the day.

Let's just hope that the confidence taken from the last four wins, coupled with a full house against Derby this Saturday can keep that winning streak going. Gary Rowett's Derby will come and give us a decent game, I am sure they will come to try to win the game and an open, free flowing affair is where we have been at our best this season.

Owls striker Gary Hooper

Owls striker Gary Hooper

Back to the top of the page