The tough run-in that could define Sheffield Wednesday's League One season
Sheffield Wednesday will be hoping to be in the promotion mix when they arrive at the ‘business end’ of the League One season.
Despite their ongoing financial difficulties, the Owls are currently second favourites for promotion and will be boosted by Darren Moore’s presence in the dugout after both he and the club confirmed their commitment to each other in the wake of relegation.
He has yet to make any signings of note with a little more than six weeks to go until the start of the season, however, with the club still limited to loan signings and free transfers.
Sheffield Wednesday 2021/22 fixture list: Owls start with tough away trip
Still, those teams relegated from the Championship have generally performed well in the third tier in recent years.
Almost half of the sides relegated to League One in the last five seasons – seven out of 15 – 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.
Just one team – Bolton Wanderers – has suffered a double relegation from the second tier across the same period.
But as well as problems off the pitch, Sheffield Wednesday will have to navigate a reasonably tough run-in in their final 10 games if they are to be promoted at the first time of asking.
The Owls will play four teams who finished in the top half last season out during that time, including Portsmouth on the final day and beaten 2020/21 play-off finalists Lincoln City.
They will also face Bolton Wanders, now on a much steadier footing under Ian Evatt, and fellow relegated side Wycombe Wanderers, who have stated their ambition to go straight back up.
The Rams have been fined £100,000 over some of their accounting policies, it was announced on Wednesday.
However, the EFl has the option to appeal against the verdict and may call for a points deduction - which could see them relegated from the Championship.
In a statement, the EFL said, pending an appeal, it had developed an interchangeable fixture list for next season for both clubs while the disciplinary process is finalised.