Where Steve Bruce expects to see a big improvement from Sheffield Wednesday

Steve Bruce, the Sheffield Wednesday manager, says his injury-ravaged Owls team must sharpen up in the final third if they are to keep their slender play-off hopes alive.

By Dom Howson
Sunday, 10th March 2019, 4:48 am
Updated Sunday, 10th March 2019, 5:23 am
Owls chief Steve Bruce
Owls chief Steve Bruce

Saturday's battling draw at Derby County maintained Bruce's unbeaten record as Wednesday boss and kept the Owls in 13th position, six points shy of the top-six with 10 matches left to play.

But Bruce, without a host of first-team players through injury, has now challenged the side to improve their end product heading into the business part of the campaign.

Owls chief Steve Bruce

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He told The Star: "You can't fault the players for their effort.

"I just want them to express themselves more and go forward better with the ball better.

"We have shored things up defensively and given ourselves a platform. Now we have to try and improve in the forward areas and get the ball forward more quickly.

"Can we put the ball in the box better? We have to create more chances than what we are doing."

Bruce, who looks set to be without the services of centre-forward Steven Fletcher (ankle/knee) for Tuesday's trip to relegation-haunted Bolton Wanderers, has guided the Owls to three wins and five draws since succeeding Jos Luhukay at the helm.

"We are six points behind (the top-six) and I think there are probably too many teams in there so it’s going to take a monumental effort," admitted four-time promotion winner Bruce.

“But when we did it with Birmingham, we had 12 games to go and went unbeaten and came from nowhere, 15th to scrape in and we got up so who knows?

“You can’t give up hope but it’s going to be a big ask and there are big clubs in and around there.

"We are there or thereabouts.

"If we can be down to three or four points with eight games to go then who knows."