Mandaric targets strong Owls finish

Sheffield Wednesday......Milan Mandaric
Sheffield Wednesday......Milan Mandaric
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MOMENTUM is everything in planet football.

MOMENTUM is everything in planet football.

Clubs who finish strongly inevitably take that form and confidence into the following season. A positive set of results on the pitch lifts the morale in dressing rooms, sending the players and backroom staff away on their holidays in buoyant mood.

Sheffield Wednesday chairman Milan Mandaric, who is believed to have invested around £12m into the club since completing his take-over in December, is desperate to finish a troubled year on a high note.

He told The Star: “I expect us to win the majority of the games that we have left. I think we have the capabilities to do that. I have always said there is more quality in the team than they are showing and it is just a matter of time before they turn it around. I am disappointed with where we are in the table and I didn’t plan for that. But we have to deal with it and make the improvements we need.

“We have got good, quality players and they have to go out there and express themselves as they have done in the last two home matches.

“It is so important that we create momentum going into next season.”

Mandaric had a sit down meeting with manager Gary Megson and chief executive Paul Aldridge yesterday on the direction the Owls are heading and discussed in depth the areas the team need to strengthen going forward.

But he insisted: “The number one priority is to finish the season on a high note and then we will look at the contracts of the existing players and sort that quickly on who is going to be staying.

“Between Gary, myself and Paul, we should be able to get things going on that front rather quickly.”

Megson’s troops will be seeking a third win on the trot at Hillsborough when they entertain Hartlepool on Saturday. There is also a possibility of the club chalking up a league double over their North East counterparts, having comprehensively thrashed Pool 5-0 at Victoria Park in August thanks to goals from Giles Coke, Neil Mellor, a Marcus Tudgay penalty, Clinton Morrison and a Paul Murray own goal.

At that stage, it was Wednesday’s third win in the opening five fixtures and the fine success took them to the top of the table. They were soon knocked off their perch following back-to-back 1-0 setbacks at Brentford and at home to Carlisle United, who also dumped the club out of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy in the semi-final of the northern section.

Meanwhile, Brighton and Hove Albion clinched promotion to the Championship in midweek by coming from behind to beat Dagenham and Redbridge 4-3.

The Seagulls, who beat Wednesday 2-0 on Saturday and have been top of the table since September, sealed an 11th successive home win courtesy of strikes from Inigo Calderon, Glenn Murray, Liam Bridcutt and Ashley Barnes.

Manager Gus Poyet has now set his sights on securing the title and reaching 100 points.