Martin Smith column: Can Owls bounce back to top flight?

Carlos Carvalhal
Carlos Carvalhal
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They’ve got their bounce back - not that they ever entirely lost it.

They’ve got the noise, the numbers and a belief.

Gary Hooper

Gary Hooper

Sheffield Wednesday fans with a whiff of success in their nostrils are a pretty intense bunch - and why wouldn’t they be?

Money in the bank, play-offs to look forward to, a decent manager who’s just signed a new deal and a bunch of hungry players who might be hitting form at the right, best time.

Only Hull City can match their 42 home goals this season and Wednesday have equalled a club-record 17 league clean sheets, a feat they achieved last season and in the late 70s.

But last season’s struggles in front of goal have been remedied by the new manager and the owner’s deep pockets.

Fernando Forestieri

Fernando Forestieri

Goals don’t come cheap.

After a few faltering draws of late the Owls have booked their play-off place over the months thanks largely to the extra dimension brought by the finishing of Gary Hooper and Fernando Forestieri.

How times change.

It’s not that long ago that watching Wednesday at home was a study in frustration.

The fans lost patience early, the players lost confidence shortly after and their collective progress seemed to be hampered each by the other.

But no longer.

Where there was once fear and a stifling sense of lost glory there’s now hope and confidence in a team that believes in the manager.

When did we last say that about Sheffield Wednesday?

It’s been a long time in coming and they aren’t there yet, but the club’s progress from one looking back jealously at its own recent past to one looking forward to a potentially bright future has taken the best part of a decade to achieve.

From the ups ad downs of the Dave Allen years, the revolution under Lee Strafford which helped put a new boardroom structure in place, the calming, solid, debt-reduced foundations built on by Milan Mandaric and finally the investment and potential for growth brought by current owner Dejphon Chansiri.

The club has sorted itself out from top to bottom, is reaping the benefits and credit to them.

Will they go all the way to Wembley and to the pay-day paradise of the Premier League?

Hard to say. There’s a lot to do yet and they need to keep form and momentum.

But you wouldn’t back against them.

Not now they’ve got their bounce back.

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