Alex Miller: Next few days will be as important as any match for Sheffield Wednesday's promotion charge

And breathe.

By Alex Miller
Thursday, 2nd September 2021, 6:00 pm

Silly season is over for another four months. And it’s been manic. Sheffield Wednesday have a whole new team.

Everything, barring that frustrating trip to the Morecambe seaside last weekend of course, has gone as well as you could have reasonably expected it to, a remarkable achievement given the whirlwind of mire that had surrounded the club in the months leading into this summer.

These are early days and Wednesday supporters need not look back too far into the past to find a similar sense of optimism in the first furlong of a season. At the outset of the last campaign, after five league matches, they had lost only once and had kept clean sheets in five games across league and cup.

Sheffield Wednesday coaches will work hard over the next few days with their players.

At that stage Izzy Brown was feted as the man to get the Owls’ creative pulses flowing and Garry Monk was believed to have harnessed a new-look side capable of beating a 12-point deduction to stay in the Championship.

It didn’t quite turn out that way.

It does feel different this time. It’s been said time and again that in this new division, a rung lower on the EFL ladder, a rebuild is more likely to last. With no disrespect to Monk, Darren Moore seems to have been able to get a tighter grip on the club. The circumstances, to be fair, have allowed him to.

The postponement of this weekend’s scheduled clash with Sunderland comes at an interesting time for Moore’s men.

Footage released by the club of training on Thursday shows a happy, relaxed and jovial camp that seems to be enjoying each other’s company hugely. The next nine days leading into that arduous trip to Ryan Lowe’s Plymouth Argyle are key, you’d feel, for the group.

Because at this ‘getting to know you’ stage in proceedings, with the window now shut, Moore has his squad settled and in front of him. Free agents could be added, sure, but this, finally, is the bulk of the squad that supporters hope can make good on their lofty ambitions.

The defeat at Morecambe saw flaws in Wednesday’s attacking output. Faced with a side that dropped deeper and deeper in search of a smash-and-grab win they eventually claimed, they lost their way a touch. Moore said after the match he had already identified areas in which they could improve.

As time ticked on they seemed to rush things a touch, failing to get the first goal that would have opened the match up. A goal down, they lost the composure that had seen them enter the final third which such regularity for large periods before.

It’s a scenario that may well befall them several times over the next few months and it is in beating those low block defences that they will no doubt work on in the coming days, among other bits and pieces.

They’ll be encouraged to come together socially and bond, knowing tougher challenges are around the corner.

There may not be a matchday schedules until that voyage to Devon, but make no mistake, with silly season in the rearview mirror this next few days are as important as any they’ll face this season.