How Sheffield Wednesday should look to Sheffield United strategy for inspiration

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They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Well, I don’t imagine anyone reading this would wish me to have Sheffield Wednesday flattering Sheffield United!

But, in one crucial respect, the Owls could do worse than cast a quick glance three miles to the south this summer.

And there is no shame in copying something if it works.

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Owls boss Darren Moore gathers his players together going into extra time    PIc Steve EllisOwls boss Darren Moore gathers his players together going into extra time    PIc Steve Ellis
Owls boss Darren Moore gathers his players together going into extra time PIc Steve Ellis

What worked for United in the Championship last season can work for Wednesday in the next one - namely loaning exceptionally talented young players from the Premier League.

It would be no exaggeration to claim the Blades wouldn’t have won promotion without the effervescent impact of Manchester City pair Tommy Doyle and James McAtee.

Darren Moore’s team could do with exactly something similar if they are to carry forward the momentum of their own thrilling promotion.

Because, let’s face it, clubs the size of the Owls can’t settle for consolidation; they have to be targeting a back-to-back leap into the Premier League.

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These days you can’t just “buy” that in terms of fees. While Dejphon Chansiri’s financial support has been unstinting, last summer’s successful strategy was more pragmatic.

This appeared to suggest two things - that his own resources were stretched and that he had heeded the breaking of spending protocols that had effectively consigned Wednesday to relegation.

No-one really knows how much is available now but the club has benefited from largely judicious free transfers and loans.

It is a recipe to repeat. And the key will be manager Moore’s excellent relations across football, his honesty and the trust he inspires.

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Certainly Wednesday, with a similar aged squad to United’s, need the same - youth, vitality, talent, pace.

And there is one more lesson to be followed - keeping together the core of what you have, harnessing the power of the existing group.

Wednesday already have a firm base if they can retain the best of their experienced players.

The difference will be made on what they can add.

And, as with Bramall Lane, I’d suggest Hillsborough will be an attractive destination both for talents aiming to advance their careers and for their clubs in looking to develop them.