Sheffield Wednesday: Owls are showing promotion form!

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DAVE Jones was saying the other day that sometimes you can interpret statistics any way you want, writes Paul Thompson.

The Championship table perhaps provides an illustration of what he meant.

If somebody had told me in early August that with 17 games left Wednesday would be would within five points of all three of the clubs who were relegated from the Premier League, Wolves, Bolton and Blackburn, then I think I would have happily settled for that.

On the other hand I don’t think 20th place and four points above the bottom three would have been deemed to be quite so satisfactory.

You could also say that the Owls have won only two of their last five league games, but equally true is the fact that they have taken 17 points from their last seven, which is promotion form!

Tomorrow’s game against Brighton is a good one for Wednesday to use as a yardstick to see how far they have come.

On the evidence of their performance against the Owls at the Amex Stadium in September, I still rate the Seagulls as one of the best teams that Jones’ men have played this season.

Others that spring to mind are Watford and Leicester.

The strange thing is that if Wednesday had won on that Friday night at the seaside, then they and not Brighton would have gone top, if only until the following day’s results.

Defeat left them down in eighth, and by Saturday teatime they were 11th. That’s how tight it was in the early weeks of the season, and the interesting thing about the last few weeks is how the bottom end has become more congested.

There used to be a five-point gap between the Owls and the pack above.

Now, they are only six off mid-table and, as a joker in the office remarked, only 15 off the play-offs.

Of realistic significance is the fact that they are within four points of four teams just above them, and four clear of the bottom three even after midweek wins for Barnsley and Bristol City.

So, all in all, I think it is fair to say that things are looking up for the club, and that horrible run of seven successive defeats seems a long time ago, to me.

They have become stronger defensively, and if they can cure that problem of too few goals then they will surely finish safely.

Leroy Lita looks a good signing, though I say that after seeing him just the once, on his debut outing as a sub at Charlton.

Another striker grabbed the spotlight in similar fashion, with a goal in his first game for the club, and it was downhill from there. Yes, I mean Rodri, whose exit had been coming for some time after his failure to earn a place in the team and what Jones describes as a loss of form and an inabilitiy to settle in England.

The difference is that Lita has a wealth of experience in the game here and is a proven scorer, whose form at The Valley suggested he has not lost the knack.

Chris O’Grady’s departure was not unexpected, and Barnsley have got their man at last, obviously with no hard feelings about him scoring the derby winner against them!