Steve Bruce looks ahead to ‘defining week’ for Sheffield Wednesday as he nears 900 match milestone

Steve Bruce is on the verge of hitting a magic 900 matches in his career as a manager but it’s Sheffield Wednesday’s next three that he has identified “defining” for this season.

By Nancy Frostick
Friday, 05 April, 2019, 11:07

The Owls manager prepares to face former club Aston Villa at Hillsborough tomorrow in a vital clash for both sides as they look to stay in the race for the top six.

And speaking to the media ahead of the match, Bruce said he believes the trio of matches in the next week – against Villa, Nottingham Forest and Leeds United – are must-win ties if Wednesday are to make the play-offs.

Owls Manager Steve Bruce...........Pic Steve Ellis

“Three games in a week - in two weeks’ time it’s practically all over, it’s a big defining week and all to play for,” he said. “It’s fantastic.

“All of them really now (are must win games) if we are going to be realistic with the teams, we have got to win them all.

“So there’s one or two twists and turns I’m sure – all we can do is try and do what we have done in the last few weeks, which is keep the momentum going and keep ourselves in there.

“Unfortunately we are running out of games, and it’s sod’s law when I’ve got nearly everybody fit and the season is coming to a close.”

The good news for Wednesdayites is that Steven Fletcher is back in contention for tomorrow’s match, with Rolando Aarons the only doubt after picking up an ankle injury in the warm up before the last match at Stoke City.

And with the Owls due to face teams around them or above them for the rest of the season, their manager insists it will be a tough run of fixtures.

“We have still got a chance but as I have said all along it’s only a small one but we must try we’ve got to try and keep going and you never know,” Bruce said.

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“The ten, eleven teams who are competing for practically two spaces, it’s there for everybody now.

“We see all sorts of results and the Championship will always throw in a few, that’s the fascination with it.”

The Championship does more than throw up unexpected results of course, with tomorrow’s match attracting more attention as Bruce prepares to play his former employers – but the Owls chief insists his focus is on securing three points.

“By the end of next week I will have done 900 games I think, it’s part of the journey that I have been on and as far as I’m concerned it’s gone.

“I’ve been in it a long, long time but make no mistake we want to try and win the game.

“Chris Powell lost his job last week and he was the 40th manager sacked out of the 92 and I was one of them.

“Whether it hurt or not or whether it was unjust, I think all of us would say one thing – you’ll probably always cry for time.

“The big thing that disappointed me above anything was that style of play came into it. In 2018 we were the second-top goalscorers to only Manchester City at Aston Villa.

“So that was one thing that disappointed me, of course we are all judged on our results but when we look at it overall we won our fair share so you think you’ll get a bit of time but it wasn’t to be.”