Month-old prophecy of Sheffield Wednesday senior figure shows Owls can handle heat of title wobble
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And when Sheffield Wednesday midfielder Will Vaulks admitted his side would likely hit a rough patch between then and the end of a season they hoped would end in a title parade, it didn’t seem all that likely. Not immediately, anyway, and not at least in the circumstances in which it has come.
Even with 14 games to go at that stage, his throwaway prophecy that he was ‘sure’ there would be rockier times ahead in the campaign jolted even the more experienced reporters a touch, you suspect.
But a few weeks on, three without a win and off the back of defeat at previously-winless-since-December-10 Forest Green Rovers on Sunday, it’s one that has come true.
And it’s the comments around the comment that should fill Wednesdayites with every confidence that their side can rise through the wobble and regain top spot at Cheltenham Town on Wednesday evening.
“You find out about your teammates, your manager, your coaching staff and your club when you’re going through a little bit of a bad spell,” he said on March 3.
“I’m sure we will lose or draw games towards the end of the season and you use that: ‘We had an off-spell there, we’ve done it before, calm down, we can go again, we’re a good team and we can go back on another winning run.’”
The previous difficult spell he touches on was a December triple of consecutive draws – and turgid performances – that sent anxieties among the fanbase racing as to their ability to stay the pace in the title hunt.
It was a period that those at the club didn’t allow to get away from them, Vaulks said the same day. Much has been made of the make-up and experience of the Wednesday dressing room and it’s one the 29-year-old reported as important in riding through the storm of dodgy form guides when those outside the training ground are growing in nervousness.
“It’s a very calm and experienced dressing room,” said the Welsh international. “There’s never been any getting carried away with being top of the league or being a bit behind.
“It’s over the course of 46 games that you win a league or get promotion – that’s how you do it. I actually think it’s through experience and calmness really, no giddiness, no getting carried away with winning three on the spin or whatever it might be.
“I look back at when we drew three games on the bounce [in December]. I don’t look at social media, I don’t have it, but there was a massive uproar that we’d drawn three games.
“We felt that a little bit in-house but personally, me and a few of the more senior lads, we were quite calm about it.”
The hope is that Vaulks and co can draw on that ice-cool calmness once more at Whaddon Road on Wednesday.