When was the last time a Sheffield Wednesday boss felt the need to warn against “complacency,” as Carlos Carvalhal did this week.
As good a sign as any about progress at S6, you’d have to say.
Except that the league table makes the head coach’s point far more effectively.
One way of reading it is that the Owls are just three points off the top six.
But such is the compactness that they are actually in twelfth place, exactly halfway. For all the swilling of half-full glasses, that is no better, or worse, than par for the course at this stage, allowing that nobody really knew what to expect this season.
A touch of euphoria generated by three wins in a wonderful week has to be tempered by the nagging feeling that Preston this weekend could be awkward.
Simon Grayson’s team might be third bottom but remarkably their defensive record is unsurpassed in conceding just six goals in nine games.
That speaks of the kind of approach they will bring to Hillsborough. It’s not only a test of Wednesday’s wit and creativity but also of their ability to wear down quite robust opposition.
That’s where I still wonder if they have the balance between power and panache.
But when was the last time they had so much of the latter?
That’s the big step forward and the reason for the surge in optimism.
Knowing the ability is there to go higher is a huge motivator. Let’s see it happen.