The amazing stat that shows Sheffield Wednesday rarely storm out of the blocks

Not since the halcyon days of Des Walker, David Hirst and and John Sheridan have Sheffield Wednesday won their first two matches of a league season.

Friday, 9th August 2019, 3:46 pm
Updated Friday, 9th August 2019, 3:54 pm

They last achieved that feat in the Premier League...23 years ago.

But fresh from beating Reading 3-1 on the opening day of the 2019/20 campaign, the Owls will be looking to maintain their upward momentum when they welcome local rivals Barnsley to Hillsborough this weekend.

For Lee Bullen, the clash can't come quick enough. The Edinburgh-born former defender, in his third spell as caretaker manager of the Owls, has never taken charge of a Yorkshire derby before.

Owls caretaker boss Lee Bullen with Neil Thompson

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Bullen, who took over following Steve Bruce's departure to Newcastle United last month, said: "I am really looking forward to it. Daniel (Stendel, Barnsley manager) has done a fantastic job. Barnsley are a fabulous club with good history.

"As a club, they have changed their philosophy in relation to recruitment and signing a lot of younger players who are hungry and maybe wanting to prove themselves. They have a lot of energy.

"We know exactly what we will be up against and it reminds me a little bit of a game two or three seasons ago when a local rival got promoted and came up so I have reminded the players of the outcome of that game."If we are not mentally switched on for the game, we could be in for a really tough day."

Bullen's record reads four wins and three draws from the nine fixtures he has overseen since December 2017.

Despite their disciplined, professional performance at Reading, the Scot is refusing to get carried away.

"Last Saturday is out of the way now and our feet are firmly planted and I'm sure Daniel will be the exact same after their fine result against Fulham," he said. "It has got all the makings of a fabulous game.

"But we know we have good players in our team and players who are capable of winning the game and I'm sure Daniel is fully confident in his squad as well."

Barnsley, promoted from League One last term, stunned promotion hopefuls Fulham at Oakwell last Saturday. Luke Thomas scored as Stendel's men made a perfect start on their return to the second-tier.

On the Fulham result, Bullen said: "I think it surprised everyone in the league. Absolutely.

"It probably didn't surprise Daniel because he knows what he has got in his squad.

"It just shows you how dangerous and tough this league can be. As soon as you get above your station and think you are better than you are, you will always be knocked down to earth.

"Having watched the game, it looked as though Fulham had some sort of hangover from relegation. They gave the impression that they were going to win the game whereas Barnsley went out and certainly respected the opposition but didn't fear them. They had a right good go at them and all credit to them as they had a fine result."

Bullen has already put his hat in the ring for the Wednesday managerial role on a full-time basis.

But the former Owls skipper insists he is only focused on Barnsley.

"My aim is to win the next game and then switch the focus to the one after that which will be Millwall away," he said.

"I can't look too far ahead. I will just do what is right and control the controllables. What is out of my hands I can't do anything about. I will leave that to the important people who need to sort that out. For me, the important people are the players who are going to be involved tomorrow."