Sheffield Wednesday: Owls revival is one of the best

Michail Antonio gets set to score against Brighton
Michail Antonio gets set to score against Brighton
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ON the tube on the way to Charlton I was asked by a nice chap how long I had been covering Wednesday, writes Paul Thompson.

The last three months have brought one of the best revivals: from a run of seven successive defeats to a spell containing six wins, two draws and only one defeat.

The improvement is well timed; hopefully it will continue and the team will not have to scratch around urgently for points in the closing stages of the campaign.

Maybe advancing years is the cause but each season seems to me to go by quicker than the previous one and it sharpens the focus when you realise that there are only 16 games left in this campaign, or 12 weeks, which sounds even less.

Can it really be time to start thinking about Player of the Year awards?

Well, I heard this week about the date being set provisionally for a certain presentation, which led to someone asking me who the Owls’ winner might be.

Well, yes, it is a bit early, but if a judgement had to be made now then the field would have to include three of Dave Jones’s summer signings, Chris Kirkland, a reliable keeper; Anthony Gardner, a calm and classy defender; and Michail Antonio, a thorn in the side of so many defences.

Antonio has crept into top spot in the club’s scoring chart almost un-noticed, perhaps because his goals have been sprinkled through the season pretty evenly instead of in an eye-catching rush.

His goal against Brighton was his seventh of the campaign - a total comprising six in the league and one in the Capital One Cup.

Next best is Reda Johnson, with five, then Miguel Llera with four, which says something about a shortage of goals from strikers and the scoring knack of the two defenders, who have plundered their tallies entirely in the Championship.

Fourth and fifth on the list are Gary Madine and Jermaine Johnson, with three each. Leroy Lita is straight in at number six with two in his first two games.

Antonio has been playing on the wing for most of the time, of course; he has scored twice since being switched up front, and if he stays as a striker then there must be a chance of him scoring more goals.

It has been nice to write about positives in the last few weeks.

I don’t suppose you could put the sending-off of Dave Jones (and Charlie Oatway) in that bracket but it failed to take the shine off another good win, against Brighton.

Jones is such a laid-back character, in public and in private, that it was strange to see him getting involved in a confrontation on the touchline. “It’s not like me,” he said himself.

But I think it was inevitable that he and his protagonist would be charged by the FA, once the report had gone in from ref Simon Hooper, who handled the whole incident calmly.

Jones was annoyed that the Brighton camp appeared to have been trying to get players sent off - which is a red rag to a bull wherever in the country it happens.