Sheffield Wednesday: Owls should reach safety target

Dave Jones believes that his team have shown progress
Dave Jones believes that his team have shown progress
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SOMETIMES you can scare yourself by studying a fixture list.

Look at the Owls’ games during the next month or so.

Owls Talk with Paul Thompson

Owls Talk with Paul Thompson

Tomorrow it’s Palace. who are fourth, followed by a visit to Hillsborough of Forest, who are eighth.

Then come trips to Watford, third, and Leicester, fifth, and a home clash with leaders Cardiff.

Easter will bring tussles with fellow anti-relegation fighters Barnsley, at home, and Bristol City, away.

How the Owls fare in that little lot should have a major bearing on their season.

I suppose you could say the same about any bloc of fixtures, and the pros always reckon that all games are tough, but with so many coming up against leading sides, all of whom have beaten Wednesday this season, this spell really does look tasty, followed by those Easter games that will provide an opportunity to add to rivals’ worries.

Dave Jones talked about the Birmingham game being a measure of how far his squad have come, for they were disappointed at only picking up a point, away from home against a well-established Championship outfit.

Although Birmingham have had some problems of their own this season, I expected a backlash after their 4-0 hammering by Watford: Wednesday dealt with it pretty well, and I thought a point was a decent outcome.

If Jones is right and it will take 52 or 53 points to stay up, instead of 50, the target of at least 15 points from 14 games should still be well within the Owls’ capability, if the last 11 games are used as a guide.

They are are still in a streak of form that, if maintained throughout a season, would earn promotion. The haul is now 22 points from the last 11 games.

The question is: can they keep that kind of ratio going? I know that Jones believes the team can get even better; never mind just maintaining what they are doing already.

But the above is not the only question. What about the teams who are bit higher up the table than Wednesday and above the others who have already been earmarked for a survival struggle?

Take Millwall. Out of their last 13 league games, they have lost eight, drawn three and won only two, and that 5-1 home slip-up against Peterborough, kings of the unpredictable, was a real shocker, to add to wins for Posh this season against Cardiff and, a fortnight ago, Leicester.

With so many teams clustered in the bottom half of the table, who can tell how it will end up?

I just think that Wednesday somewhere along the line are going to get at least the five wins, or the equivalent, that should make them safe, and it would not surprise me if they are free from any worry before the season’s climax.

Don’t expect me to start predicting individual results, though. Not when games are almost always so close. Take the last two: The Owls drew them, against Derby and Birmingham, but each could easily have been a win or a defeat.

It might be a bit different for the top sides. When you’ve won 22 out of 31 games, as Cardiff have, there must be less concern about what the rest of the season holds in store.