Sheffield Wednesday: Why Steve Bruce has licence to be greedy in the final nine games of the season

And so Sheffield Wednesday march on.

By Nancy Frostick
Thursday, 14 March, 2019, 18:39

But in the second act of Steve Bruce’s time as manager, they do so with an unexpected greed rather than a desperate hunger for points.

Swirling winds, flying crisp packets and a seven year run without a victory at the University of Bolton Stadium weren’t enough to stop the Owls from maintaining their unbeaten status and returning to the Steel City with another win on Tuesday night.

Happy Owls boss Steve Bruce. Pic Steve Ellis.

Ipswich, Reading, Millwall, Rotherham, Swansea, Brentford, Sheffield United, Derby and now Bolton have all failed to inflict a first defeat on Bruce’s Wednesday, and so the challenge falls to Blackburn Rovers this weekend.

That’s nine games down and nine to go until the end of the season under the new Owls chief.

With the international break on the horizon, it’s a sign of Wednesday's upturn in fortunes that they can afford to look at what lies in wait after the break and plot a promotion push.

Some of the toughest fixtures of the season are still to come, with the next eight challengers after Blackburn consisting of Stoke, Aston Villa, Nottingham Forest, Leeds United, Norwich, Bristol City, Preston and QPR.

But the foundations that have been laid gives Bruce licence to want more – more than just an undefeated run and an improved clean sheet record.

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"I just wish it could have been six [points] because I'm greedy,” Bruce said after the win at Bolton.

“We picked up a point from Sheffield United and Derby and beat Bolton. 

"We are doing okay. It has been a wonderful start and let's hope we can carry it on over the next six weeks. 

"We have got a big game and let's hope we can have a big support on Saturday.”

Heading into these next nine matches the pressure is on each of their opponents that are above and around them in the Championship table.

Wednesday have satisfied their appetite and won enough points to lift them away from the relegation zone, so now is the time to exceed all expectation and be unashamedly greedy in their ambitions.

They’ve got something to protect in their unbeaten run, but if that should come to an end or they just fall short of the play-offs then the second half of the season can still surely be classed as a success.

At the very least it’s a return to where Wednesdayites might have hoped their team would finish the campaign.

As Bruce keeps saying with every good result, he pulled off the impossible once before at Birmingham City and until it’s mathematically impossible he’s hungry for a repeat of that success.