Dom Howson: Sheffield Wednesday have made their critics eat humble pie in the first half of the season

It is fair to say the Owls are making fools of those people who tipped them to go down.

Monday, 23rd December 2019, 12:10 pm
Updated Monday, 23rd December 2019, 4:25 pm

Four and a half months ago, a Sky Sports readers vote predicted Wednesday to finish bottom of the Championship table.

Given Wednesday kicked off 2019/20 campaign without a permanent manager and a soft transfer embargo had hindered their ability to trade in the summer transfer window, it is perhaps unsurprising some football fans felt they would struggle.

Yet despite the threat of a possible points deduction looming on the horizon, the Owls have defied the odds and are competing in the upper echelons of the division.

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They are currently third in the standings with 39 points after 23 matches. They have only had more points at the halfway stage in two of their previous 19 seasons since relegation from the Premier League in 2000.

There was nothing pretty about Wednesday's win over Bristol City. Garry Monk's side were forced to dig deep and grind out three points.

But they say it is a sign of a good side when they win when not at their best.

Were the Owls fortunate to get the late penalty? Possibly. Atdhe Nuhiu was clever with his body position and slowed down just enough to invite the challenge from Tommy Rowe.

Owls star Atdhe Nuhiu with Lee Bullen.

It was a hotly-disputed decision, but Rowe got himself in a tangle with Nuhiu. Rowe wrestled Nuhiu to the ground in the eyes of referee Tony Harrington and there was definite contact.

It is the sort of thing that goes a team's way when results are going well.

Mind you, Wednesday were due a slice of good fortune with a penalty call. Remember when Jacob Murphy had a blatant one turned down in the latter stages at Hull City? And the harsh penalty that went against Moses Odubajo in the draw with Derby County? They were key moments that cost them points.

But the Owls have come through adversity and their sticky patch over October and November to put themselves firmly in promotion contention going into the busy Christmas period.

They have it is just a case of maintaining the high standards they have set.