Fixture chaos plots daunting few weeks ahead for Darren Moore and Sheffield Wednesday
Sheffield Wednesday have absolutely no time to waste in getting their stuttering promotion effort back on track.
The Owls will have had nearly a fortnight away from matches by the time they welcome Plymouth Argyle to Hillsborough on Saturday, time manager Darren Moore made clear was vital for the course of their season.
A Covid lay-off over the Christmas period and their early exit from the FA Cup means they’ve played only two matches in over a month. Those two matches saw any momentum built up in their long unbeaten run come crashing down as they were beaten 5-0 at Sunderland and 1-0 at Shrewsbury.
The Plymouth game signals the start of a difficult trio of matches heading into February, with fellow playoff chasers Oxford United and a resurgent Ipswich Town taking them into February.
What follows then is a gruelling run of 10 matches in just 33 days, after which Wednesday will have played 37 matches and their promotion effort may well have been made or broken.
Moore has already spoken about the importance of momentum and will want to hit the ground running against Steven Schumacher’s Pilgrims, against whom they have already played three matches and have failed to score.
Wednesday are expected to welcome back a raft of senior players to aid their cause.
They sit six points back on the top six and speaking after their last outing at Shrewsbury, Moore spoke of the importance of putting that horror week behind them.
“You have to find that rhythm again,” Moore said. “There were stages at the start of the season where I saw similarities with that and we have worked incredibly hard to find that consistency and that the team is difficult to beat and is relentless.
“We have to look at what has happened over the course of the last two games. We have lost two games in four days and when you are connected to a club like Sheffield Wednesday, we know that isn’t acceptable.
“The break has definitely damaged our rhythm without a doubt. How do you get it back? You get it back by working, there is no special formula, you can't hide or duck away from it.
“It is only us that is going to get that rhythm back.”