The only way is up for Sheffield after years of mediocrity?

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HERE we go again.

Blades off to Oldham, Wednesday hosting Rochdale in an opening day Roses double.

We’ve only had half a dozen summer days and already the pies are in the oven for a new season.

It’s not the big-time but it’s as big as we get at the moment. Pundits are predicting various fates for our teams - mostly good ones.

But the fans aren’t having it. Most fear another season of mediocrity, tight wage bills, average football and more head-shaking anguish.

It’s tempting to look back at previous kick-offs and remember the days when the stakes were so much higher, expectation greater all round.

But Barnsley and Doncaster are now the big two in the county and while the Reds have high hopes after an unbeaten preparation, Donny aren’t too well fancied after a bad second half of last season.

The bright sparks are Chesterfield. New stadium, thrusting young manager who knew how to play, keen and battle-hardened chairman in Dave Allen and a crowd full of enthusiasm and hope.

Of course it can all change in weeks but for now Sheffield, almost inconceivably, ranks below Doncaster, Barnsley and even Chesterfield in terms of feelgood.

For a long time now Sheffield has considered itself below its natural station in the football world, but it isn’t.

Sheffield’s teams are not where they are because of cruel fate or conspiracy.

They are where they are because they’ve not been very good.

The fightback starts here.

We hope.