The gruesome numbers that prove Sheffield Wednesday survival bid is looking fanciful
They’re refusing to give up hope, we’re told, but there’s no getting away from the fact that Sheffield Wednesday will have to achieve something truly remarkable if they are to retain their status as a Championship club next season.
The Owls are way back in the survival hunt and with only five matches yet to play, chances of a great escape are looking fanciful and a look back at modern Championship history does nothing to encourage Wednesday fans hopeful of something special.
Taking the number of Wednesday matches played as the marking point, only three of the 30 sides sat in the bottom three at this stage of the season managed to climb out of it.
Heading into Thursday’s clash between Rotherham and Coventry, Wednesday are seven points back.
Survival would way outstrip the best survival effort in that time, overtaking Luton’s Covid-assisted renaissance last season, when they were four points back with five matches to play, and that of Millwall in the 2013/14 season, who were three points from safety.
Huddersfield Town are the other side to have jumped out of the bottom three at the time, though they were only behind eventually relegated Wolves on goal difference. Barnsley survived last ear by virtue of Wigan Athletic’s off-field demise and subsequent points deduction.
It means that, while they may change in formation, in seven of the last 10 seasons the bottom three at this stage of the season has remained.
The number of matches in hand that some sides have, not least third-bottom Rotherham who have three in hand on Wednesday and others, confuses the numbers slightly, but history would suggest they are in trouble alongside Wycombe Wanderers and Wednesday.
It seems Tuesday evening’s defeat to Swansea City made an impact at the bookmakers, too. You can get odds of 1/25 on that Wednesday will be relegated, meaning that a £100 bet on that outcome at this stage would return a profit of just £4.
Indeed, with many suggesting the Owls would require a run of four wins in their final four matches to even stand a chance of survival this season, they would have to summon a run of form seen only three times from a Wednesday side since the failed playoff campaign of 2016/17.