Sheffield Wednesday: It is time to rebuild the fortress of Hillsborough again

In 2015/16 and 2016/17, Hillsborough was a place that Sheffield Wednesday could truly call home.

Wednesday, 12th June 2019, 12:32 pm
Updated Wednesday, 12th June 2019, 11:04 pm

The Owls were a dominant force. They would dictate games, cut through their opponents, score goals and register victories that would have been expected of them.

But since suffering the heartache of a penalty shoot-out loss to Huddersfield Town in the Championship's end-of-season play-offs in May 2017, the Owls have seemingly lost their ability to stamp their authority on their own patch.

In their last 46 home games, Wednesday have been victorious on just 18 occasions.

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Tom Lees celebrates scoring in front of the Kop during the 2015/16 season

Last season, though Wednesday did go on an unbeaten run at home between the end of November and the beginning of April, they only managed 10 wins on their own patch, six of which came in the second half of the season.

It was an improvement on the 2017/18 season, but a decline on the number of home successes they registered in 2015/16 and 2016/17.

In 2015/16, Wednesday won 13 home matches before collecting 15 the following term.

As well as that, the Owls suffered a combined total of just eight losses in those two seasons.

Just like in 2017/18, though, Wednesday struggled at home last season for consistency.

The longest streak of successive home wins they managed was just two, a tally that matched twice. It appears that their ability to hold their nerve at Hillsborough had disappeared.

But almost like in the summer of 2015, when the Owls were preparing for life under Carlos Carvalhal, the reset button is expected to be triggered this summer, as Wednesday gear up for their first full season under Steve Bruce.

With that in mind, the slate has been wiped clean and Wednesday have the opportunity to put the disappointments of the last two seasons behind them and focus on mounting a promotion push.

And to bolster Wednesday's chances of making Hillsborough one of the most dreaded away days for their Championship counterparts, they need to try and maintain the defensive standards they matched in the second half of last season.

Following Bruce's arrival at Hillsborough, Wednesday recorded nine clean sheets from their final 18 games of the season. It was a terrific effort and one that should certainly stand the Owls in good stead for next season.

And as well as their defensive standards having improved significantly under Bruce's watch, the Owls will know that if they are able to implement an attacking, pleasing on the eye style of play under Bruce, then the supporters' response will generate an atmosphere, increasing the pressure on the Owls' opponents.

Though no new signings have yet arrived at Hillsborough, they will, you would imagine, soon start to flow, improving the squad as they look to mount a play-off charge.

But for that to happen Wednesday need to make S6 a fortress once more and make it one of the toughest Championship away days on the circuit.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​