Why Sheffield Wednesday should take inspiration from Barnsley, Burton Albion and Millwall in their bid for Championship safety
Sheffield’s Wednesday’s demolition of Cardiff City has given many people renewed hope they can complete a great escape of their own from Championship relegation.
The Owls sit on 39 points, six points from safety with seven games left to play after their second win in three matches.
But how many other teams previously in their position have survived?
Unsurprisingly, not many. In three of the last five seasons the teams in the relegation zone at this stage have all gone down.
Yet there are some stories which give hope, starting with Barnsley, who are now flying high in the play-off spots.
Only last season the Tykes were four points from safety on 38 points after 39 games. Meanwhile, Hull City and Charlton Athletic – two teams eventually relegated - were three points clear of the drop zone, so a late capitulation by one of Wednesday’s relegation rivals can’t be ruled out. More on that later.
Barnsley won three and drew two of their last seven to finish in twenty-first place – one point above the drop.
They were, however, helped enormously by Wigan Athletic’s 12-point deduction for entering administration.
The Owls can also take inspiration from Burton Albion in the 2017/18 season, despite their eventual relegation.
The Brewers appeared doomed after a 5-0 loss to Hull City left them bottom of the table and seven points from safety with just four matches remaining.
But, three straight wins took their battle for Championship survival to the final day.
Given the long odds, plenty of Owls fans would surely jump at the chance to go into the last game of the season still in with a fighting chance of survival.
Unfortunately, Burton lost – but would have stayed up had they won.
The best survival story over the last seven seasons with seven games left is that of Millwall who were in an even worse position than Wednesday find themselves in.
The Lions were also second bottom, but with a gap of seven points to safety. A brilliant run of four wins and three draws saw them finish nineteenth, however.
Meanwhile, Doncaster Rovers were eight points clear of the drop zone after 39 matches that season, but picked up just one point in their final seven fixtures and went down.
It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.