Barnsley v Sheffield Wednesday: Why derbies are the perfect return to action for Owls

Morgan Fox scored arguably the most important of the five goals against Norwich City
Morgan Fox scored arguably the most important of the five goals against Norwich City

You’ve won just once in six games; only the fragility of your nearest challengers to a play-off place have prevented you dropping out of those positions; you haven’t played for two weeks and some of your best players have been struggling with injury.

Now you have two consecutive local derbies in the space of a couple of days.

Owls Morgan Fox beats Readings Jordan Obita

Owls Morgan Fox beats Readings Jordan Obita

Fearful? Not a chance.

According to Sheffield Wednesday full back Morgan Fox, for it is they who find themselves in that position, this is the perfect way for the Owls to get their promotion charge back on track.

Aside from, what turned out to be, a false dawn of a superb victory over Norwich City, in which Fox scored his first Owls goal, 2017 hasn’t been a blessed year so far.

But there is still ample opportunity to make it an historic one, if Wednesday can only find consistent form and nail down that top six spot before setting off on their play-off challenge.

Barnsley represent the first hurdle tomorrow, followed by almost relegated Rotherham United on Tuesday and Fox, who has experienced heated derby games against Millwall and Crystal Palace while with Charlton, believes the extra edge of local rivalry can bring out the best in Carlos Carvalhal’s side.

“I played in a couple of Charlton v Millwall games and also we played Crystal Palace in the cup last season as well,” said Fox.

“(Derbies) are all always big games and the type of game that everyone wants to play in.

“I’d say (Barnsley and Rotherham) are two brilliant games for us to play in at the moment. We want to put things right and what better way to do that than in two derby games.

“Everyone is on the same page, it could be anyone (to play against), but these games have that added extra spice so everyone is really looking forward to it. Especially after the break, - everyone is ready and raring to go.”

What fans may have to contend with over the course of the next couple of games, is a battle.

Derby games aren’t often the most pleasing on the eye and at this stage of the season and with so much at stake, it’s highly doubtful that fluent fluid football will be high on the agenda.

It’s an issue that has dogged Wednesday all season anyway and this time around, Fox says it doesn’t matter how the points come about, so long as they do.

“It’s the three points that is the most important thing,” he said.

“Whether it’s ugly or not, it doesn’t matter. All we are worrying about is winning every week now.

“Just hearing what the other boys who were here last season are saying, it’s hard for me to tell because I wasn’t here, but Wednesday were almost a surprise package and that’s not the case now.

“We are expected to be up near the top and challenging at that end so they set up different against us.

“It does cause problems especially when teams are doing their homework on us but it’s up to us to find a way around that.

“We have enough quality in the squad to be able to do that and I’m confident that we will.”

And like the rest of the squad and the coaching staff, Fox agrees that the two-week break for internationals has been a timely boost at a difficult stage of the campaign.

“After the last couple of results the best thing to do is get straight back out there and put it right,” he said.

“But also, I think the break came at a good time - we’ve regrouped, we’ve had some good training sessions on the pitch and we’re good to go again.

“There was quite a stretch of games before the break, it’s so intense with the amount of games you play, usually two a week.

“To get a break like that, to mentally shut off even for a couple of days is great but like I said, we have been working hard on the training pitch.

“We have some intense training days but we have been working hard on what we want to do, to give ourselves an identity going forward with.”