SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY: Forget the fear

Owls ace: Anthony Gardner
Owls ace: Anthony Gardner

DEFENDER Anthony Gardner has warned Sheffield Wednesday they must get over their Hillsborough fear factor if they are to stay up.

Dave Jones’ troops, who entertain Charlton Athletic on Saturday, have lost four in a row on home soil, to Blackpool, Leicester City, Watford and Bristol City, prompting some fans to boo the team.

But, buoyed by a narrow win at Barnsley last weekend, Gardner is calling on his teammates to start rectifying their home results.

The centre-half, who replaced Martin Taylor at Oakwell, told The Star: “I think maybe a little bit of fear has crept into our home performances. That happens when you are not getting results.

“When results are not going your way, sometimes players may do things in a different way. When your confidence is flying, you do things naturally.

“The fact is we have to start winning at home

again. I have been to Hillsborough in the past

and it can be an intimidating place to come. But we need to give the fans an opportunity to get behind us by putting in a performance and then I think away teams will find it more difficult.

“It is up to us to set the tone and make our home ground a fortress, which is what it should be.”

When asked to explain why Wednesday have struggled to pick up points in front of their own supporters in recent months, Gardner said: “I can only put it down to pressure.

“I played at a big club in Tottenham so I know what it is like to play in front of a crowd with big expectations. You feel like you should be winning all your home games and that in turn can put pressure on players. Some thrive on pressure and others may shirk the challenge.

Wednesday’s Under-21 side, meanwhile, lost 3-0 at Derby County yesterday.