If Sheffield Wednesday don't make the playoffs this year, Championship clubs had better get ready for next season – that’s the message from Owls midfielder Sam Hutchinson.
Wednesday currently sit in 16th position, nine points outside of the play-off posiitons with 17 matches remaining, and take on Reading at Hillsborough this weekend in new boss Steve Bruce’s first home game.
And Hutchinson, 29, who returned to the first team following the departure of former manager Jos Luhakay, said the Owls hadn’t given up hope of a top six finish come May.
Speaking on BBC Radio Sheffield’s Football Heaven, he said: “I don't think we have given up the hope but it's going to be difficult, if I'm brutally honest.
"You look at our squad now on Saturday how strong it was and we've still got Gary Hooper and Kieran Lee to come back as well so you never know.”
After hosting 22nd placed Reading on Saturday, the Owls face Millwall and Rotherham United in an away double-header.
Hutchinson added: “You have got to be realistic to the fact of we didn't have a great spell before Christmas but if we hit the ground running and pick up a few results, fingers crossed we might do it but we'll be quiet about it and go about our business and see where it takes us.
"If we don't do it this season, we're going to be very strong next season I can see that coming."
Speaking about the arrival of new boss Bruce, he added: “I love the club and, to be honest, I think I can only get better and fitter.
“Under the new manager and the new regime, I think I can only get better and stronger."