Sheffield Wednesday: Can the Owls put to bed their Derby County hoodoo?
Every side has a team they can’t beat.
And statistics show that in the last two decades the team Sheffield Wednesday has struggled to beat is Derby County.
Wednesday have defeated the Rams just twice in the last 22 meetings in all competitions.
It's fair to say that one of the Owls’ least favourite trips of the season is the short journey to Pride Park where their last triumph was recorded in April 2006 when Brian Laws was at the helm.
The last time the Owls returned from Pride Park with three points in the bag Tony Blair was still Prime Minister and Gnarls Barkley was in the middle of a nine-week stint at number one with his legendary hit Crazy.
In fact on the same weekend goals from Marcus Tudgay and Leon Best secured a rare 2-0 win against the Rams, a then 20-year-old Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney fractured a metatarsal bone in his right foot making him a major doubt for England’s World Cup campaign in Germany later that summer.
Yes, that’s how long ago it is since Wednesday chalked up a win at Derby.
Since then the Owls have picked up only three points at Pride Park, which includes a 1-1 draw last season when Dominic Iorfa salvaged a share of the spoils for Steve Bruce’s men.
But trips to Derby haven’t always been ones to forget.
For in the days before the Rams played at Pride Park, the two sides shared six goals in a thrilling FA Cup quarter-final tie at the Baseball Ground in March 1993.
A John Sheridan penalty and a Paul Warhurst double helped the Owls secure a draw in a topsy-turvy encounter before the defender-turned-striker scored the only goal in a replay at Hillsborough to set up the Steel City derby at Wembley.
Fast-forward nearly 27 years and, despite their poor record against the Rams, Garry Monk’s sixth-placed side will go into Wednesday evening’s clash confident of making it three wins on the bounce after victories against Charlton and Brentford.
And they will come up against a Derby outfit, led by Dutchman Philip Cocu, hardly brimming with confidence.
They currently sit in a lowly 16th place having won only one of their last five matches – so surely there’s no better time for Wednesday to put to bed their Pride Park hoodoo?
Interestingly, some bookies believe they can do it and make the Owls favourites to win on Wednesday evening.
Ironically, if a trip to Pride Park is the Owls’ least favourite journey then one they enjoy the most is an away day at Derby's fierce rivals Nottingham Forest.
The Owls have won on four of their last five visits to the City Ground – which, of course, is where Monk’s side head to on Saturday.
Who said football was a funny old game?
- Derby County v Sheffield Wednesday kicks off at 7.45pm on Wednesday evening.
If you can’t get to Pride Park, the game is being shown live on Sky Sports Action with coverage due to get underway at 7.40pm.
Alternatively, you can follow all the action as it unfolds right here.