These are heady times for Sheffield Wednesday.
I suspect even the most ardent of Owls fans would not have predicted three weeks ago the team would go six matches unbeaten, make their best start to a season since the 1990/91 campaign and sit in the Championship play-off positions after four matches.
Given the uncertainty over Hafiz Mammadov’s proposed takeover of the club and the fact Wednesday sold Michail Antonio, one of their main attacking outlets, to tomorrow’s opponents Nottingham Forest just before their opening day trip to Brighton and Hove Albion, it truly is remarkable the results the side have achieved.
Four victories, three on the spin away from Hillsborough, including a first ever triumph at the Riverside Stadium, and four clean sheets has lifted the gloom. Boss Stuart Gray has transformed the Owls into a solid, well organised team. Indeed, he has overseen 18 wins from his 40 matches in charge since succeeding Dave Jones last December, giving him a win ratio of forty five per cent.
A mouth-watering trip to Premier League champions Manchester City awaits the Owls in the third round of the Capital One Cup next month. The tie, against the holders, is the club’s reward for treating the cup competitions seriously as Gray fielded a strong team at Burnley. By contrast, the Clarets made seven changes, choosing to rest players ahead of their league tussle with Manchester United.
There is a lot of optimism around Wednesday right not but it’s imperative the club brings in new blood over the next couple of weeks to keep the momentum going. It would be a bonus if a new face arrives on a permanent basis before the summer transfer window closes on Monday at 11pm. But, if Gray is forced to rely on the loan market, he must be given the tools to bring in reinforcements.
It was just over a week ago chairman Milan Mandaric told me: “I will continue to back Stuart [Gray]. Our budget has been increased and we have brought in very experienced players. The club is in good hands going forward. Until I find a proper person to replace me, I will keep going with my experience and financial commitment.”
Should Wednesday fail to bolster their options over the two-week international break, it threatens to undermine the feelgood factor Gray has created.
Click the video player above to see what Dom Howson has to say about Sheffield Wednesday’s visit of Nottingham Forest