Sheffield Wednesday: Owls seek to avoid Play-Off hangover
It is the question on all Wednesday fans lips.
Will the Owls quickly shake-off their Play-Off disappointment or suffer a Wembley hangover next season?
A quick glance at the history books suggests it is not beyond the realms of possibility that Wednesday could be in the hunt for promotion again.
Should the Owls need any inspiration, they only have to look at Middlesbrough to see what is possible.
A little over 12 months ago, Boro’s promotion dreams were shattered by Norwich City, who triumphed 2-0 in the Play-Off final. It could have adversely affected them.
But Middlesbrough splashed the cash in the transfer market, bringing in internationals such as Stewart Downing, Christian Stuani and Jordan Rhodes to beef up their forward line, and Aitor Karanka’s side came back stronger. Boro bounced back, pipping Brighton and Hove Albion to the second automatic promotion spot on goal difference.
Owls legend Chris Waddle recently challenged his old club to follow the Middlesbrough way.
He said: “Middlesbrough lost in the play-off final last year and the year after, seemed to say: ‘Look, we will go up this year.’ And they went out and got players like Downing and made a statement to show they meant business. For me, that is what Wednesday have got to do in the summer. They know what they need now to get out of this league and they have got to be hungry again. But they’ve got to add three or four quality players.”
While boss Carlos Carvalhal will be hoping his players can emulate Boro’s success, the team can also take heart from Cardiff City and Leicester City. Like the Owls, the Bluebirds and Foxes finished sixth in the 2011/12 and 2012/13 campaigns respectively and went on to gain promotion as champions the following year.
Although there are plenty of reasons for Wednesday to be optimistic, six out of the last 10 clubs who have ended up in the final play-off spot have finished 12th or lower the following season.