Steve Evans has had his say on Sheffield Wednesday's chances of League One promotion
There may not be too much optimism around Hillsborough at the moment, but that hasn’t dampened expectations for Sheffield Wednesday in League One among some onlookers.
In the last five seasons, seven out of the 15 sides relegated to the third tier have been promoted straight back to the Championship, with at least one going up each year.
The 2017/18 campaign even saw all three clubs who had been demoted the previous season return to the second tier at the first attempt.
And Gillingham boss Steve Evans has tipped the Owls to be there or thereabouts next year, despite their financial woes.
He said: “EFL 1 has Sunderland, Charlton, Rotherham, Wycombe, Portsmouth, Bolton Wanderers, Sheffield Wednesday, Ipswich Town, Wigan Athletic, Oxford United, Shrewsbury Town, Doncaster Rovers and Plymouth Argyle all expected to compete for automatic promotion.
“So our task to improve on last season’s 10th place finish is a huge ask given the resources, but we will be organised, efficient and we will also have a number of exceptional players in our squad. We will find a way to be competitive; the challenge is exciting in a league that many are now describing as a Championship 2.”
Sheffield Wednesday remain under a transfer embargo, which limits any much-needed new arrivals to loans and free transfers.
Several players are also still owed wages from the club, with payments up to three months late. Some of this money is believed to have been paid to them recently, however.
Evans, who has four promotions on his CV as a manager, including a promotion from League One with Rotherham United in the 2013/14 season, warned of the dangers of clubs overspending –something Wednesday fans are all too familiar with after the financial fallout of Dejphon Chansiri’s gamble to reach the Premier League.
“With a number of Championship clubs struggling financially it appears to me the big spenders and gamblers are in League 1,” he added.
"I offer only extreme caution as the last thing we need is the likes of Bolton Wanderers and Bury happening more often.”
Despite their current predicament, Sheffield Wednesday are second favourites to win promotion from Sky Bet League One next season with odds of 8-1.
Sunderland, who were beaten in the play-off semi-final last season, are the favourites for promotion.