Owls have to prove they can succeed away again

Looking up: Gary Megson was buoyed by last week's clean sheet
Looking up: Gary Megson was buoyed by last week's clean sheet
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IT’S not the first time that Wednesday have faced a reality check since they were relegated to League One.

But it still makes me think whenever they face a game such as tomorrow’s at Hartlepool.

I do not wish to belittle Pools in any way, for their management and players are doing a great job on resources that doubtless are meagre when compared to those of some clubs in the division.

But, for Owls traditionalists, how can it be right that Hartlepool away is a big game against a team who are just above them in the table?

Don’t answer. It’s obviously because Wednesday are no longer, or at least not for the time being, giants who can trample all before them, even at League One level.

Pools will be fired up, just like every other relatively small club when they come up against the Owls.

Yeovil will have felt the same way, especially as Wednesday had not won away this season, but that did not prevent a first away victory even after they had fallen behind.

So the Owls showed that they do have the tenacity and ability required to overcome obstacles such as this.

They also answered awkward problems posed by Exeter at Hillsborough last Saturday.

So, the acid test tomorrow is one where, against an on-form team, Wednesday must try to show that the Yeovil result was not a one-off.

The clean sheet against Exeter has given Megson cause for satisfaction, and I am sure it did the same for the players, and rightly so, but I had to smile when Stephen Bywater was picked for the Football League’s League One Team of the Week, having not had a save to make on his debut.

He was flawless, though, and seemed an authoritative figure behind the back four.

Wednesday owed Exeter one after suffering a double at their hands last season; tomorrow, it’s the other way around.

Not only did the Owls famously defeat Pools in the 2005 play-off final, they have won all of the last five League and Cup games between the clubs, including the Millennium Stadium duel, scoring 17 goals in the process.

It takes me back to a summery day last August when they romped home 5-0 at Victoria Park and went to the top of the division.

At that time it was something to be taken in everyone’s stride, because the club had been strongly fancied to earn promotion at the first attempt.

But here we are again, getting ready to head for Hartlepool, and facing the slog of a further 36 games.

Megson is clearly not overly concerned with the 10-game mark, unlike some managers, and is placing due emphasis on how the club perform in the middle of the season and towards the end.

After last week’s performance and result, the team almost picks itself, but the manager has to decide whether to start with Chris Lines in the centre and James O’Connor wider, after swapping them around to good effect in the Exeter game.

Ryan Lowe’s possible absence is a blow but having just one striker on the bench, Chris O’Grady, would be an improvement on the early part of the season.