This Sheffield Wednesday squad is packed with players that are busy proving us all wrong - and that's encouraging

There’s long since been conversation about what is needed between the ears to be success at Sheffield Wednesday.

Sunday, 13th March 2022, 3:30 pm

Squads in recent times have been rendered too soft to handle the expectations of the club and the noise of off-field distraction. And while this side has a long, long way to go and nothing has been achieved yet – the Owls are still outside of the top six, after all – there are signs that tide is changing.

It’s early days in Saido Berahino’s Wednesday resurgence, but a classy hat-trick inside an hour against Cambridge United offered a glimpse at the forward Owls fans hoped they were getting; hungry, athletic, a momentary throwback to the West Brom youngster that tore up the Premier League way back when.

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Saido Berahino was the hat-trick hero in Sheffield Wednesday's 6-0 rout of Cambridge United.

Since his introduction from the bench at Doncaster Rovers on February 19 he has become something of a fan favourite. Considering where he’d come from in the eyes of most fans – and indeed the media – after a more-than-a-little sluggish start in blue and white, it’s been a rapid rise in approval ratings.

Towards the end of the January transfer window there weren’t many Wednesday fans that would have been devastated by his exit. Six weeks on there’s a feeling he can be as big a part of the promotion run-in as anyone.

Hard work seems to have been the catalyst, with Darren Moore detailing some of the extra work Berahino has had to do to get himself back into contention, but there will have been times his mentality was severely tested. He’s been through a lot in his career. It suggests he’s made of strong stuff.

There’s Marvin Johnson, another who had his name sung over and over in recent weeks and has become one of the first names on the team sheet. He too has proven fans and media wrong in an impressive resurgence on the left wing via centre-half. He was an object of ridicule in his first weeks.

Bailey Peacock-Farrell has half an eye on the all-time record of clean sheets in a Wednesday season. It’s a world away from the confidence-shot days of late last year. Then there’s George Byers.

Too often Wednesday players new and old have gone under at the first sign of adversity, but no longer. That quartet’s comebacks have been individual, but as a squad they’ve laid on a season-turning run of eight wins in 10 matches when it would have been easy to reach for the excuses of injury woe and tough luck.

It took something to bounce back from Lincoln defeat, from the Rotherham defeat.

It’s easy to reach these verdicts when the going is good in the days after a 6-0 win of course. There are fiercer tasks ahead and a lot can go wrong between now and May, but right now there is a sense that this squad have a little something about them that previous squads didn’t.

A year into his Hillsborough reign, Moore has spoken a number of times of his amazement at long-held stats that pointed to a soft underbelly at the club.

His first task was to make the club harder to beat, he said, and now he’s onto instilling a new culture at S6.

The mission goes on, but the signs are promising.