In-form Owls forward Jacques Maghoma has warned Championship promotion contenders Derby County: “We owe you one.”
Payback is on the agenda for Sheffield Wednesday as they prepare to entertain the Rams on Saturday in their first home league fixture.
Derby did the double over the Owls last season, winning 3-0 on their own turf before securing a 1-0 victory at Hillsborough in February courtesy of a spectacular strike by Chelsea loanee Patrick Bamford.
Steve McClaren’s men finished third in the standings but missed out on promotion to the top flight after losing to QPR in the Championship Play-Off Final.
The bookmakers have installed Derby as one of the frontrunners to challenge for another top-six finish. Back-to-back victories and clean sheets over Rotherham United and Carlisle United in the Capital One Cup have further increased the expectation levels at the iPro Stadium.
Nonetheless, Maghoma believes Wednesday are capable of avenging those losses.
“It will be a hard game,” he said. “We owe them one for last season when they beat us at home.
“Both teams cancelled each other out that night. I didn’t play because I was injured but I watched from the stands. It was a good game and a wonder strike from Bamford. Hopefully we can get our own back this time around.”
Maghoma claims the Hillsborough crowd can play a big part in their meeting with Derby.
He said: “I think it’s good for us that the next couple of games are at home, especially with the home crowd backing us. Hopefully we can get more people coming through the door and getting behind us as they have always done.
“That will push us on again and help us get the result we want. It’s very important we maintain our good start.”
The 26-year-old praised the team display in the 3-0 triumph over Notts County in midweek.
“It was a professional performance,” he said. “We did our jobs. From start to finish, we managed to keep a high intensity and the early goal helped. It was a pleasing performance.”
Maghoma said the squad are in good spirits after wins over Brighton and Hove Albion and the Magpies.
“The mood has been great since we came back from pre-season and we have carried that one,” he said. “We are a tight group. Everyone gets on and we all want to work hard for each other. We want to work hard for the manager and the staff.”