Sheffield Wednesday are a scalp - So they’re going to need to win ugly, too - Joe Crann’s column
Batten down the hatches. That’ll be the approach for some clubs facing Sheffield Wednesday this season – and the Owls need to find a way to dig out results even when it’s not pretty.
Darren Moore has a way that he wants his side to play. Since he took over at Hillsborough the Owls have been a lot more pleasing on the eye, a lot more on the front foot, and a lot more expansive in practically every area of their game.
The fact that Bailey Peacock-Farrell has had so many touches and made so many passes is testament to Moore’s commitment to possession-based football, and it’s a commitment that Wednesdayites will be delighted to see.
The ‘Sheffield Wednesday’ name, as well as Moore’s reputation, has led to the club being able to put together a squad that – on paper – is probably better than some Championship squads, but with that name and reputation comes the fact that the Owls now have a hefty target on their backs. They’re a scalp to be taken.
Wednesday found that out the hard way against Morecambe as they threw everything but the kitchen sink at The Shrimps, but were sucker-punched late on and came away with their first defeat of the season against a team that they really should be beating.
But on-paper quality and a big name doesn’t make positive results a foregone conclusion, and Moore has said that he’s working hard to make sure that the Owls respect every opponent they come up against – sometimes though, they’re going to have to get ugly.
Sam Hutchinson knows all about scrapping out a result, he knows all about fighting until the last breath to try and salvage something – but he also knows how much it will mean to some clubs to get one over on the Owls this season.
Speaking to the media this week he said, “It can happen in football… I didn’t see the game, but I spoke to a lot of people and we had our chances.
“We’re everyone’s cup final. I know that’s a cliche, but Sheffield Wednesday are a massive club to be down here. And there’s a few massive clubs.
“When you get as many people in as we have, and the calibre that we have, you become a target… So people see us as a target, and it’s up to us to deal with that and break down teams like Morecambe - because that’s the side of the game that they’ve done well. They kept a clean sheet and nicked one, it’s a good win for them.”
And that’s going to happen this season. You can’t win every game, there are always going to be bumps in the road and banana skins to slip on, but for Wednesday it’s about how they bounce back from them.
This weekend Moore goes up against a man who knows all about the size of Wednesday – because Ryan Lowe has seen it first-hand. And while the former Owl certainly still has an affinity for his former employers, best believe that he, his players and the Pilgrims’ supporters would love nothing better than to send SWFC packing on a long journey back to Sheffield without anything to show for their trip.