Sheffield Wednesday legend Mel Sterland delivers passionate message to players ahead of Derby County clash
If you were to compile a list of former Sheffield Wednesday players you wanted to ‘play for you life’, a few names would immediately spring to mind.
And at right-back, most would have Mel Sterland
The lifelong Wednesdayite, who made over 350 appearances for the club between 1978 and 1989, will be watching tomorrow’s do-or-die clash between his beloved Owls and Derby hoping his side can seal a smash-and-grab survival having spent only one week outside of the drop zone this season.
And he has extended a passionate rallying cry to the club’s current players ahead of what is one of the biggest matches in the club’s rich and storied history.
“It’s a big game, as big as a cup final,” he said, speaking to talkSPORT. “You look at the players they’ve got, they’ve got some good players in there, but they’ve got to roll their sleeves up on Saturday against Derby. We can beat Derby.
“Getting down in that League One division, it’s hard getting back up to the Championship. We have to win, we have got to win. The players have to do the business for that football club.”
A win for Wednesday would be Derby’s seventh on the trot but could still not be enough if Rotherham win at Cardiff.
The Rams surrendered a lead at Swansea last weekend to lose 2-1 and keep the Owls’ survival hopes alive.
Asked what he wants to see from Darren Moore’s men in the Pride Park clash, Sterland said it is up to Wednesday to put their hosts, and rookie boss Wayne Rooney, under pressure.
“I want to see them play from their heart and to get stuck in. Unfortunately they can’t tackle like when I played, but I want to see some character there and for them to go for it.
“Wayne Rooney is the manager of Derby and he’ll be panicking. I saw them last week when they played Swansea and he looked a bit gutted. You could see the pressure in his face, a first time manager.
“Wednesday have got to win, they have to pull their sleeves up, go out there and perform. This is a big, big game for them.”