Tomorrow could matter more than the final day

High hopes: Dave Jones welcomes Sheffield rivalry
High hopes: Dave Jones welcomes Sheffield rivalry
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IF Wednesday just miss out on automatic promotion then they would be able to claim they have been unlucky.

They already have a points total that would have taken them straight up in four of the six seasons since they quit the third tier via the play-offs in 2005.

If they keep winning to swell their 87-point tally over the last two games and do not go up then it will be quite remarkable, in that historical context.

Over these last few years Leeds have won promotion in second place with 86 points, Forest with 82, Bristol City with 86 and Colchester with 79.

In the year that Wednesday won the play-offs, Hull went up with 86.

The broad trend has been that you win the title with more than 90 points - a mark that the Owls and Blades may well both pass, but one of them is going to finish third.

In 2005 the Owls collected only 72 points and finished fifth but won the play-offs.

They could not have done much more in recent weeks to achieve their ambition.

One pressure game after another has been ticked off, and only four points have been dropped in the 10 games since Dave Jones took charge.

I was down in London to watch my daughter run the marathon on Sunday, and seeing so many folk struggling along yet determined to finish reminded me of the value of perseverance.

The Owls reaped a reward for that virtue when they beat Carlisle in stoppage time.

Looking from the direction of the South Stand it was hard to see how Michail Antonio managed to hit the net with his great finish when there were several defenders and the keeper in between him and the goal.

But our photographer was right in line and saw the ball bend around the opponents and into the corner.

Wednesday seem to have the tenacity and quality necessary for a fight to the end.

They are back in the same situation as the one of a fortnight ago: tomorrow they have a tricky away match while United are at home.

A slip-up for Wednesday could mean that the fight for second place does not go right to the last game, after all.

Two weeks ago, the Owls drew at Colchester and the Blades beat Leyton Orient at home.

Last week it was a perfect scenario for Wednesdayites: a home win against Carlisle and an away defeat for United at MK Dons.

I confidently predicted that United would beat the struggling O’s.

I’m not sure about their game tomorrow against Stevenage, who are sixth and striving to stay there, with Notts County and Carlisle two and three points behind respectively.

Brentford, five points behind Stevenage. are aiming to beat Wednesday and hope that rivals stumble, but the Bees’ goal difference is also inferior to the Boro’s and they will be out of it if Stevenage win or draw at the Lane.

So, it is all very interesting.

Where do I think Wednesday will finish? It is too close to call.

But I do think that they will beat Wycombe at home on the final day, aided by a bumper crowd, and that United will win at Exeter. Tomorrow’s games could be the key.