Sheffield Wednesday need their fans more than ever as they look to shake off title wobble at in-form Cheltenham Town

There was no attempt at excusing Sunday’s roast at Forest Green Rovers.
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Not by Darren Moore or Reece James in their post-match media engagements, not by players posting on social media in the hours following the full-time whistle.

It was a result that jolted the entire division and pulled Wednesday into a conversation that seemed unfathomable just a few days earlier – after a hard-fought, imperious 23-match unbeaten run, they couldn’t mess this up, could they?

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Defeat at Forest Green was without any shadow of a doubt the low point on a league campaign that has rarely been short of sparkling so far. Their fifth defeat of the campaign is the first that could fairly be described as any sort of a major shock.

Owls huddle against a backdrop of the jubilant Wednesday fans at Portsmouth   Pic Steve EllisOwls huddle against a backdrop of the jubilant Wednesday fans at Portsmouth   Pic Steve Ellis
Owls huddle against a backdrop of the jubilant Wednesday fans at Portsmouth Pic Steve Ellis

But a shock it was – a little humiliating both in terms of result and performance – against a side that hadn’t won a league match in over four months. No excuses offered, partly because there were no excuses to grab at. It was a stinker.

All of a sudden, there’s a palpable and understandable sense of anxiety over this form wobble in that it is the first time this season the Owls have lost two on the spin. One point from three is their leanest triple of the campaign and the continued absences of George Byers and Josh Windass look to have made an impact on how they go about things going forward.

Far easier said than in practice, now is not the time for anxiety either on the field or off it. Wednesday supporters have turned out in huge numbers all season and have played their part in the most enjoyable season in some time, Moore and his record-breaking merry men piecing together a club that had been miserable to watch not long ago.

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There’s little doubting Owls supporters will be in full voice at Cheltenham Town on Wednesday evening. And the Owls will need a boost from the fierce paid-up and well-travelled terraces to shake off any nervousness in those first touches.

The trip to Wycombe Wanderers is perhaps the greatest example of many matches this season that have seen Wednesday’s away support grab and drag their team over the line. In heavier moments brought about by a nervous touch here or there, it’ll be over to the away end to draw on those afternoons.

“It'll be another tough test,” Moore said post-match on Cheltenham – on their best run of the season, four unbeaten including three wins.

“In League One there are no easy games. Teams at the bottom are fighting for their lives, as are the ones at the top. We have to be ready.

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“What we didn't do at Forest Green was perform and that left us open for the result that we ended up getting.”

After nearly six months of unbeaten league record, with Wednesday having built a squad designed to withstand hiccups such as the one yet to be swallowed down, a bump in the road has been presented.

Their record this season has built a basis for faith they can and will put their Bolton-Barnsley-Forest Green triple behind them in double-quick time. They’ve done it before after all, breaking from three consecutive draws back in December to win six on the bounce.

No matter the potential nervousness of the opening few minutes, the togetherness built and shown all season between players and fans must continue.