Alex Miller: Carnage at Sheffield United shows what Sheffield Wednesday must do to get back on the right track
It’s difficult not to get a little wave of relief when the carnage drops on the other side of the desk for a change.
That’s nothing against my respected Blades-covering colleague chums Danny and James, of course, and it’s certainly no gloat. It’s just, well, all that ‘shock big ramification breaking news’ stuff was an entity mostly reserved for us lot on the blue and white side for a while there.
Fear not, this is not a Sheffield Wednesday column about Sheffield United, merely a 500-odd word ramble about plans, draws and the virtue of patience.
Have back-to-back wins painted everything rosy in the wild world of Wednesday? No sir. Perfection is a worthwhile pursuit and there is an argument to suggest that even with the embryonic stage the club are at in the Darren Moore cycle, even with the injuries and all else, they should be closer to the top of the League One table than they are.
But in fifth place, five points from the top and with that horror comeback stat drawing smaller and smaller in the rearview mirror, it feels like now is a good time to stop and take a breath on where the Owls are at. A season is made up of a few million moments, but this one feels massive.
Optimism isn’t always a word associated with life at S6. But it has been the last few days and for good reason; thanks to returning stars, signings and injury time winners.
What of those returnees? Massimo Luongo and Josh Windass are among not only the most influential players in the Wednesday side but in the division; their twin return to contention coming at a time they were needed most.
Lee Gregory would be out for six weeks were the whispers; they were proved wrong. George Byers comes in to provide something different in a midfield that looked dead on its legs just a week ago.
Sure, injuries remain and the Owls’ threadbare defence will be tested in the coming weeks, but elsewhere on the field, something is building. Nathaniel Mendez-Laing is a player of proven quality that has yet to be thrown into the mix.
As they have been for two decades of ups and mainly downs, Sheffield Wednesday supporters were asked for patience time and again. ‘A win puts them back in the playoff places’, they were told when a draw – a missed opportunity – so often followed.
Now those back-to-back wins and that league position have for the moment delivered tangible proof that this is a project worth sticking with, those minority noises on social media asking for change in the dugout quieter than they have been since their September downturn.
Both Sheffield clubs appointed managers their fanbases were happy with this summer, both who had vast experience of their respective new divisions and a point to prove. Only one remains.
While clouds of carnage swarm over life down the road, Wednesday continue with their steady rebuild. A win against Wycombe will really grease the wheels of optimism.