The puzzle Danny Rohl faces in Sheffield Wednesday's crunch relegation fight run-in

Sheffield Wednesday are fighting for Championship survival.Sheffield Wednesday are fighting for Championship survival.
Sheffield Wednesday are fighting for Championship survival.
Alan Biggs on a relegation battle he feels may well go down to the wire

Well, it defies analysis, doesn’t it? If Plymouth can beat Leicester, Blackburn win at Leeds and Birmingham thrash Coventry, who can possibly predict the outcome of Sheffield Wednesday’s tortured attempt to stay in the Championship?

What doesn’t defy analysis, though, is the Owls dropping of four points (Swansea and Stoke) from dominant displays in two of their last three home games - with a rescued point against Norwich in between. It’s also obvious that any more lapses of that kind could be fatal going into the final three matches.

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All we’re left with after that is a feeling - and intuition can be as powerful as the logic which says that, with two away games either side of a tough visit from West Brom, Wednesday are right up against it now.

For what it’s worth, my hunch has long been that they’ll survive - just. That somehow it’s written somewhere they’ll escape the bottom three at the last, maybe even on the final day at Sunderland, having been there all season. Why, they might even get a penalty! But a hunch is all. For that to happen, Wednesday will have to find a ruthlessness to match their best spells in games, starting at rivals Blackburn in front of a phenomenal 7,000 travelling fans on Sunday

Before that, they’ll have to sit out an agonising Saturday to see how the other strugglers fare - with all bets off after last weekend’s extraordinary results. But these outcomes will not change the dynamic that Danny Rohl’s side have to win at Ewood Park whereas Blackburn, five points to the good, should be comfortable with a draw.

Avoiding defeat is a dangerous mindset to have, one which Wednesday must look to exploit. With Rohl, who has been playing catch up in all his time at Hillsborough, there have never been any half measures on that score, making a succession of draws cruelly ironic. But how does he approach it tactically?

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A degree of doubt has crept in at the worst possible time. A thoroughly untypical long ball assault borne of desperation paid off handsomely in the draw with Norwich. Instead of reverting to type against Stoke, Rohl carried on with something similar, against most expectations but not those of the intuitive deep-defending visitors.

That said, Wednesday dominated and really should have won, arguably deserving to. A big decision on style beckons where previously there was no uncertainty on that score. It could be almost win or bust come Sunday. But something tells me it was always destined to go to the final day.

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