WHATEVER happens at Carlisle tomorrow, the Owls fans will get a special thank-you from the players.
Gary Megson took the unusual step of sending the team to applaud the away supporters before the Bournemouth game began.
The club look set to repeat the tribute as a run of five successive away games comes to an end at Brunton Park.
A fresh rapport between players and fans was created by a battling second-half show at Birmingham and the best performance in two and a half months at Dean Park.
It was a vastly different scenario to the one at Tranmere where the team crumbled to defeat and supporters chanted: “You’re not fit to wear the shirt.” Megson says that the pre-match gesture at Bournemouth was intended to show that the loyalty of the fans is appreciated.
“We’ve got to nurture that,” he says. “You don’t choose to support Sheffield Wednesday, it chooses you. It’s a family thing.
“It’s gone on here for years and years. For some of the players, that’s new to them.
“What we’ve go to do is to show appreciation of how much they put into following the club.
“Some of these people will have been to Rochdale, Tranmere, Birmingham and Bournemouth and will be going up to Carlisle.
“They’re our biggest asset by a street; we have to show it’s appreciated and try to bring everything else at the club up to their standard.”
In his desire to improve the team, his preparation for all games is centred on his own side rather than the opposition.
Alan Irvine, though also preparing thoroughly with his players, also went into some detail on the opposition and used DVD presentations to brief his squad.
But Megson says: “We don’t do a huge amount on the opposition; we do as much as we can on ourselves.
“Yes, you need to know what formation they might be playing and if they have anything sexy at a set-piece, like Bournemouth had - which we told them about, and we got caught! - but I’m not one of these who goes into the ins and outs of every single team, because it’s about our players and what they do.
“Anyway, you don’t, in my view, want players’ heads filled with what the opposition can and can’t do.”
Megson had three IT personnel at Bolton: “We showed the players our set-pieces, One of the things I find strange at times is you’re concentrating on the opposition - and this isn’t a criticism. At Bolton we had three IT people, fully used; that was their job. It was really top drawer.
“But we didn’t do a huge amount on it. I think sometimes you can paralyse by analysis. I wouldn’t want to do that.”
CARLISLE (possible): Collins, Simek, Robson, Livesey, Murphy, Taiwo, Bennett, Noble, Marshall, Curran, Zoko (4-4-2).
OWLS (probable): Weaver; Hinds, R Johnson, Beevers, Spurr; Sedgwick, Osbourne, Palmer, Miller, Teale; Madine (4-5-1).
David Coote (Notts): Has yet to send off a player this season and averages around three yellow cards per game.