Barry Bannan says Sheffield Wednesday have the ‘upper hand’ in the play-off chase

Midfielder Barry Bannan says Sheffield Wednesday have the ‘upper hand’ in the race to make the top six and qualify for the Championship play-offs.

Thursday, 21st March 2019, 11:11 am
Updated Friday, 22nd March 2019, 6:49 am

The Owls are just two points and four places off the pace with eight matches of the current campaign remaining as they prepare to play five of the teams above them after the international break.

But Bannan, who has made 39 Wednesday appearances this season, says the momentum is in Steve Bruce’s side’s favour as they prepare for their toughest test yet this season.

Speaking to the Star, he said: “Two points off Middlesbrough, we’ve got Forest to play here so we’ve got the upper hand really.

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“We’ve got the teams up above us left to play until the end of the season so we have to say that we’ve been on a great run and we’ve got to keep that consistency up.

“There’s been a change of manager and a lot of people will look at it that way but the biggest thing is we’ve been working hard and we’re hard to break down where as before we were conceding too many goals. We were probably scoring goals but we conceded too many.

“We have got a solid back four now and you can see the same back four every week now which has been a real help for the goalkeeper.”

Wednesday’s defensive record has drastically improved since the turn of the year, which is a welcome improvement after the team waited 17 matches in a run lasting until November’s Steel City Derby for their first clean sheet of the season.

After that 0-0 draw at Bramall Lane, the Owls managed another three shut-outs and have added nine more since the start of 2019.

But defensive improvements were just the start of the turnaround according to Bannan, who says Wednesday are determined to keep their unbeaten run in tact and chase a target of at least six wins from their remaining fixtures in order to reach the play-offs.

“There’s loads of things with the new manager coming in and giving everybody a fresh start that’s helped,” he said.

“We’ve got eight games left and we’ve probably got to go and win six or seven of them, but it’s something that we know we are capable of doing.

“The Championship is a funny old league where different teams are dropping points every week and they are still in the play-offs like Middlesbrough and Derby and they’re still there.

“We are just going to take each game as it comes so we’ll probably set ourselves a target and keep it between ourselves.”