‘We have got to be seen to be competing at the top end of the table’, insists Sheffield Wednesday boss Steve Bruce

Sheffield Wednesday manager Steve Bruce has challenged his players to be competing at the top end of the Championship next season.

Sunday, 26th May 2019, 8:09 pm
Updated Tuesday, 28th May 2019, 5:56 pm

Despite heavy investment in the first-team squad under chairman Dejphon Chansiri, the Owls have underachieved in finishing mid-table in each of the last two campaigns. They trailed Derby County, who secured the final play-off berth, by 10 points.

Bruce, who succeeded Jos Luhukay in the managerial hotseat last January, is looking to build a side capable of challenging for promotion this summer but is acutely aware of the size of the task facing him.

"We have got to be seen to be competing at the top end of the table," he told The Star. "It is as simple as that.

Owls Manager Steve Bruce

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"That's the remit for us all.

"We have not been competing at the top end for the last couple of years and the club have had two managers (Carlos Carvalhal and Luhukay) because of it who have lost their jobs.

"I'm under no illusions of what we need."

Wednesday will lock horns with Charlton Athletic in the second-tier next year after the Addicks beat Sunderland in the League One play-off final at Wembley. Charlton fell behind after an extraordinary early own goal from Naby Sarr but sealed a return to the Championship after a three-year absence following goals from Ben Purrington and Patrick Bauer.

Derby, meanwhile, face Aston Villa for a place in the top flight worth £170m in the Championship play-off final on Bank Holiday Monday. The Rams, managed by ex-England midfielder Frank Lampard, finishing sixth in the rankings in the regular season, two points behind Villa, and only clinched play-off place on the final day.