Sheffield Wednesday: Leeds clash is a 'big moment' for promotion-chasing Owls, says talisman
Saturday’s visit of Leeds United to Hillsborough will provide Sheffield Wednesday with a huge marker in the Owls’ hunt for promotion this season.
That’s according to midfield talisman Barry Bannan, who issued a rallying call to supporters ahead of the visit of his former club.
The Owls head into the clash in third position in the Championship and are unbeaten in league matches at Hillsborough under Garry Monk. They sit a point behind Leeds, who remain among the bookies’ favourites to win out a congested title race.
Bannan, who spent two months on loan at Elland Road as a 22-year-old Aston Villa prospect, said: “It is a tight, tight league and we need to keep churning out the wins somehow. It’s about trying to pull away from all these teams in and around it.
“They [Leeds] will be one of the teams which will probably be in and around it come the end of the season and if we can beat them, it is a big, big moment for us.”
The little playmaker said he was looking forward to match and called on the Hillsborough faithful to produce an atmosphere worthy of a top-table Yorkshire derby.
“It is always a big game,” he said. “They always pack their away end out and our fans will be right behind us. It is a big game for us and it is one we want to win and it is bragging rights for our fans as well as a massive three points.
“The crowd can be massive. They have generally been brilliant since i have come here and no doubt, they will bring everything they have got again and it is up to us to get them going and start off on the front foot and put Leeds under a bit of pressure.”
That home record has been key to Monk’s success so far, Bannan said. The Owls have produced two 1-0 wins on the spin at Hillsborough and are building a reputation as one of the meanest sides in the division, conceding only four goals in Monk’s seven league games in charge.
He said: “That was something we touched on when the new manager came in. He wanted to turn this place into a fortress.
“Teams will find it hard coming here. We are a team who looks hard to beat and with the quality we have got, we are always able to score a goal as well. The defence have been a massive positive this year. They have been brilliant.”