SHEFFIELD Wednesday’s troubles were not even on the horizon when they beat Rochdale 2-0 at Hillsborough in November with goals from Giles Coke and Clinton Morrison.
It was a third successive victory for the Owls, they had had advanced their league and cup campaigns and were ninth in the table and on their way up to second.
It is also not so long ago that a game against Rochdale, even on their patch at Spotland, would have appeared to be an inviting opportunity for Wednesday to revive flagging firtunes.
But Keith Hill’s winning of the League One Manager of the Month reflects the scale of the Owls’ task today.
Since that defeat at Hillsborough, Dale have lost only one of 13 games.
They are ninth in the table and three places off the play-off positions,
That also means they are four places above Wednesday and five points better off. Hill’s men also succeeded on Tuesday in an art where the Owls have twice failed recently: that of beating depleted opposition.
Dale left it late, mind you, in dispatching 10-man Bristol Rovers, with two goals in stoppage time for a 3-1 win.
Wednesday, looking for their first victory in eight league matches, face the latest of many awkward tests in relatively unglamorous surroundings.
The last one brought the spectacular 5-3 crash at Peterborough - their fifth successive away league defeat, and a result that sealed Alan Irvine’s departure.
Gary Megson has echoed Irvine’s pre-season warning that relatively unglamorous trips are something that a club such as Wednesday must learn to deal with.
The Owls manager recalls that he was once taking a team to Yeovil and he had players complaining about the hotel.
“I told them ‘you shouldn’t get relegated in the first place’, he said. “It’s the same here. We are where we are. Whatever it takes, we have to get results.”
Help from the Manager of the Month curse would be handy.
n Tricky Wingers, run by former Owls coach Steve Adams, will hold football fun sessions during the schools’ half-term holiday, between February 22 and 24, at Tapton School, Sheffield, for boys and girls aged five to 12. For more details phone Steve on 07815 307657.