DAVE Jones is warning his Sheffield Wednesday players that they must keep up the high standards seen during their first week back in the Championship.
The second-half fightback at Derby and a stirring victory against Birmingham has led to the Owls being widely fancied to see off Millwall at Hillsborough today.
The Rams were 12th last season, the Blues fourth, but Millwall were down in 16th.
This, however, will be the Lions’ third successive season in this division, and Jones regards them as opposition who command respect.
“They are an established team at this level,” said the Owls manager. “They’ve got some good players, and they’re coming off the back off a good victory in midweek [2-1 at Peterborough].
“No matter who you play in this division, it’s going to be tough. We know we have to be at our best in every game to get a result.”
Millwall manager Kenny Jackett knows what to expect from Wednesday and from Chris O’Grady: he tried to sign the striker when he was playing for Rotherham, but O’Grady preferred to stay in the North and signed for Rotherham.
Jackett appreciates the sense of occasion that a game at Hillsborough brings.
“I spoke to them all in the dressing room after the Peterborough game and told them this is what the Championahip is all about,” he said.
“Wednesday are a massive club and deservedly back at this level.
“They had a good win against one of the fancied teams in this division on Tuesday and will be backed by a big crowd..
“However, after our own performance and victory, our players and supporters will believe we can make an impact in this league and will go into Saturday’s game in very positive mood
“We’ve been looking forward to this since the final whistle on Tuesday. There will be a terrific atmosphere and two sides committed to winning a competitive encounter.
“We passed the ball well at Peterborough and created plenty of chances.”
Jones accepts that the Owls’ performance against Birmingham was not perfect, as some passes went astray. But he was still pleased with those cases where the intention was right: “Eventually the execution will come if they have the confidence to pick the right pass.”
“Seeing the right pass is the important thing.”
DID YOU KNOW? Millwall have won on their last two visits to Hillsborough: 2-1 in September, 2005, and 1-0 in October, 2002. The Owls’ last home win against them was 2-1 in May, 1991.