Sheffield Wednesday: Owls fans urged to aid survival fight

Sheffield Wednesday's fans cheer on their team during the npower League One match at Hillsbrough, Sheffield. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 26, 2012. See PA story SOCCER Sheff Wed. Photo credit should read: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. Maximum 45 images during a match. No video emulation or promotion as 'live'. No use in games, competitions, merchandise, betting or single club/player services. No use with unofficial audio, video, data, fixtures or club/league logos.
Sheffield Wednesday's fans cheer on their team during the npower League One match at Hillsbrough, Sheffield. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday February 26, 2012. See PA story SOCCER Sheff Wed. Photo credit should read: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. Maximum 45 images during a match. No video emulation or promotion as 'live'. No use in games, competitions, merchandise, betting or single club/player services. No use with unofficial audio, video, data, fixtures or club/league logos.
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Sheffield Wednesday fans have been told to “stay patient” and keep cheering on the managerless club as they battle for Championship survival.

The Owls sit second-from-bottom in the division, having claimed a meagre two victories from their 18 league matches. Saturday’s defeat to Nottingham Forest at Hillsborough leaves them four points adrift of safety, although they do boast a game in hand on their rivals. They play Wigan Athletic next Wednesday.

Milan Mandaric, the Wednesday chairman, has told The Star: “My message to the fans would be to stay patient and to not panic.

“If the fans can do what they have done in the past, that will help us to get through these difficult times. We are all in it together. We all want to do what is best for the supporters. With their backing, it will be by far easier.”

The Owls chief has stressed the key part that their supporters have to play in the club’s fight to avoid relegation.

“They have got a major role in helping us get out of the bottom three,” said Mandaric. “Players sense and feel that. For example, when we played against Leicester, in those last 10 minutes or so, they were unbelievable. They never stopped encouraging the team.

“It is a huge advantage for us when we have our supporters behind us.”

Despite the defeat to Forest, Mandaric, who has confirmed caretaker boss Stuart Gray will remain in charge of first-team affairs for their clash at Watford this weekend, feels their displays have markedly improved.

“We played a very good game against Leicester and I thought that we were very organised in the first half against Forest,” he said. “We matched Forest. There was not much difference between the two teams other than the goal they scored.

“It is unfortunate we couldn’t finish our chances. But as far as the team played and being organised, it was by far better than it used to be.

“The players have responded well and I think things are shaping up under Stuart [Gray].”

Mandaric is under no illusions at the size of the task facing the team ahead of their trip to Vicarage Road.

“Watford are a big, strong team,” he said. “It is a big challenge.

“We have got to stay discplined and make sure we are hard to beat. If we stay organised, I think we have got a chance. I believe individually we have enough quality to win games.

“No disrespect to Dave [Jones] or anybody who was there before but I don’t think we played well enough as a team at the beginning of the season.”