Sheffield Wednesday: Owls seek happy anniversary

Chris Kirkland and Chris O'Grady after last season's win at Barnsley.
Chris Kirkland and Chris O'Grady after last season's win at Barnsley.

This weekend sees the first anniversary of a Wednesday turning point.

Yes, it will be 12 months since the Owls pulled off that victory at Barnsley and began in earnest a push for Championship survival.

If a decent result can be procured at Watford tomorrow then this could be a present-day signal for improvement ahead.

Fans can at least hope. If anything, the club were in even deeper trouble this time last year.

They headed into the Oakwell derby having lost seven games in a row and with only 15 points on the board.

That is one point more than they have now, but back then they had played 21 games, three more than the current total.

This weekend they face a side who have lost their last four home games and have not won in the last eight, home and away. What could possibly go wrong? Don’t answer that.

It could have been Dave Jones talking when Stuart Gray understandably pinpointed the factors that resulted in the points slipping away last Saturday: a lack of quality in the final third, and a costly defensive lapse.

It was a reminder that whoever is in charge, the players remain the same - at least until January when the club should be able to do something about that.

There is a worrying shortage of strikers, in particular: Connor Wickham is Sunderland’s player and could be going back in January. or even to another club, while it seems unlikely that Wednesday could afford him; that would leave Atdhe Nuhiu, and Michail Antonio, JJ and Jacques Maghoma, though I suggest those three are primarily wingers.

Chris Maguire and Caolaon Lavery are out on loan and cannot be recalled until Christmas Day, but were not getting a game anyway.

So who is going to get the necessary goals if it’s not Wickham?

Chris O’Grady was the hero last year when he secured the 1-0 win at Barnsley. That was followed by 2-0 and 1-0 victories at home to Charlton and at Bolton, and a 0-0 draw at Huddersfield.

Ten points and four clean sheets - it will be a great feat if the Owls can repeat that in their next four games: Watford away, Wigan and Bournemouth at home and Blackburn away.