Steve Bruce's Sheffield Wednesday tipped to be 'there or thereabouts' in the Championship promotion race next season

Sheffield Wednesday are well-equipped to mount a strong promotion challenge next season.

Friday, 28th June 2019, 11:34 am
Updated Saturday, 29th June 2019, 12:07 am

That is the view of former Owls midfielder Matt Hamshaw.

Steve Bruce's first-team squad reported back for pre-season fitness testing on Friday and they will be aiming to kick on after a top-half finish last time around.

Bruce is a vastly experienced operator at Championship level, having guided both Birmingham City and Hull City to the Premier League twice - winning a play-off final with each club.

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And Hamshaw, now first-team coach at Rotherham United, is confident the Owls are heading in the right direction under Bruce.

Speaking on Alan Biggs' Sheffield Live TV show this week, Hamshaw said: "Steve will do a really good job there.

"They did really well when he took over and I would expect them to be there or thereabouts next season."

Ex-Owls physio Paul Smith agreed with Hamshaw, saying: "Steve is a top, top manager and I think we are in really good hands."

The 2019/20 Championship campaign gets under way at the start of August and Hamshaw expects the battle for promotion to be competitive.

He said: "Swansea have got a new manager so it will be interesting to see how that works. I would expect Fulham to do really well. You obviously can't forget about Cardiff and Neil Warnock's record in that division.

"I think it will be competitive but the nucleus of the squad is there at Sheffield Wednesday and I think they have got the right man in charge. If they are firing and do perform consistently, they should be up there."

Smith, who spent eight years working at Hillsborough, is confident the Owls will secure a top-six finish. "I don't think there is anything to fear in that division," he added.

Owls boss Steve Bruce

Smith is involved in the Reds v Blues charity match at Hillsborough Arena on Saturday afternoon. He will be the joint-manager of one of the teams along with local journalist Alan Biggs.

There will be a host of former players and local personalities pulling on their boots for a good cause, including boxer Liam Cameron, trainer Steve Bailey and actor Joe Warren Plant, who plays Jacob Gallagher in Emmerdale.

Kick-off is 2:30pm. Entry is free, although a donation of your choice is recommended. All proceeds will be split between the Sheffield Children’s Hospital and the Army Cadets.