Darren Moore must invoke the spirit of Neil Thompson reign to kill Sheffield Wednesday ghosts of Christmas past
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Because the fact is that over the past few seasons ‘tis actually the season not to be quite so jolly when it comes to Wednesday results – with the following weeks presenting something of a hangover stretching into new year.
And he would do well to emulate the efforts of Neil Thompson, who took over from Tony Pulis’ disastrous and short-lived reign at the turn of 2021 as caretaker boss and oversaw a buck-trending run of three wins in four league matches stretching to the end of January.
Wednesday have won only 33% of league matches between Christmas and the end of January in the past six seasons – a figure that drops to a meagre 28.57% if you take out Thompson’s post-Pulis upturn.
Thompson’s effort stands out as all the more impressive given the context of the season it arrived in and the fact it followed Pulis’ one win in 10 matches – it was the best run of form of a campaign that ended in relegation.
The circumstances are oh-so-very different of course, but the point remains that after a run of disappointing performances and three draws on the spin, Moore and Wednesday need to improve and jump back to winning ways starting with Fleetwood.
The post-Yuletide spell they will certainly want to avoid is that endured by Garry Monk in the 2019/20 campaign.
Monk’s Owls woke up on Christmas Day third in the table hoping to build a charge towards automatic promotion to the Premier League before a chastening late defeat at Stoke City on Boxing Day sparked a run of five defeats in six through to the end of January. They ended the month in 10th.
In all league football between Boxing Day and the last day of January in the past six seasons, Wednesday’s total record sits at 11 wins, nine draws and 13 defeats.