The chase is on for Sheffield Wednesday as caretaker boss targets huge rise up the table with squad ‘capable of mounting a challenge’

Sheffield Wednesday caretaker manager Steve Agnew
Sheffield Wednesday caretaker manager Steve Agnew
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Caretaker boss Steve Agnew has challenged the Owls players to maintain their upward momentum and catapult themselves further up the Championship table.

Wednesday have picked up eight points from their last four league outings to lift themselves into 16th position.

Speaking ahead of today's clash against his former club Hull City, Agnew, standing in for manager Steve Bruce until he begins the job on February 1, said: "We have to focus on what is above us and what we need to do chase the ones above us.

"We understand that it is not easy and it is a difficult task ahead of us but one that we feel that we have a squad of players capable of mounting a challenge and moving up the league."

Hull kicked off December in the relegation zone but Nigel Adkins men have turned things around and currently sit in mid-table after collecting 16 points from their last six outings. Adkins scooped the Championship manager of the month award while Tigers forward Jarrod Bowen claimed the individual prize.

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Agnew said: "Hull had a tough start to the season and have now won five straight league games which is remarkable. Nigel and his staff have done a fantastic job with the players.

"I'm sure they have had ideas on the training ground to implement their ideas. It probably took a little longer than they would have liked but this is the Championship and any team at any time can go on a run and surprise the ones above them."

Agnew said he has had "several conversations about certain things" with Bruce this week.

On the Hull test, Agnew said: "Funnily enough I spoke to Steve yesterday (Thursday) and he said 'it is a East Yorkshire and South Yorkshire derby so make sure the players put on a performance.'

"We know there is going to be a following of about 2,500 Sheffield Wednesday supporters at the game.

"It's a clear message from the manager to say to the players go and enjoy yourselves and put on a performance for the supporters and let's hope we all have an enjoyable day out at Hull."

Midfield playmaker Barry Bannan (knee) has been declared fit for the trip to the KCOM Stadium and Sam Hutchinson (groin) is expected to win his fitness battle as the Owls gear up to face a Tigers side chasing a sixth straight league win.