A three-point advantage says Sheffield Wednesday are a good bet to “get a result” at Fulham on Saturday. Otherwise, the logic has me beaten.
Without wishing to make excuses in advance, there is no way Fulham should be below the Owls. Or the likes of Reading, Bolton, Leeds and Wigan. For all the frustration of an avoidable 1-0 home defeat to Wolves - when Stuart Gray felt a third successive win was there for the taking - I still feel Hillsborough’s head coach is making a little go a long way in relative terms.
An examination of clubs ahead of him (and not by much) would reveal much higher wage bills at the likes of Middlesbrough, Derby, Watford, Norwich, Blackburn, Nottingham Forest and Cardiff. Okay, Bournemouth are shock leaders – but they are not without financial muscle, hence rumours that manager Eddie Howe earns upwards of£600,000 a year.
None of this is to decry the best efforts of Milan Mandaric. It is testimony to his resourcefulness and the stability he has brought to the club that Wednesday are in such a position after his four years at the helm. But Fulham, remember, have a strike pair who have commanded career fees of £15.5m, including £11m. The Owls are over-achieving a touch in my view. Credit for that to Gray and a tight-knit squad.