Sheffield Wednesday: Owls guaranteed highest league finish for 16 years
Whatever happens in final two rounds of an enthralling Championship season, the Owls are guaranteed to secure their highest-placed league finish since dropping out of the top division in 2000.
For the Owls to wrap up a place in the play-offs, they only need a draw against seventh-placed Cardiff City at Hillsborough this weekend. Wednesday currently hold a four-point cushion over their nearest challengers and boast a vastly superior goals difference.
A point would also take the Owls up to 72 points, which would be their highest tally since losing their Premier League status.
Only the Bluebirds can leapfrog Wednesday in the table. They require maximum points on the penultimate weekend of the campaign to keep intact their promotion aspirations.
Head coach Carlos Carvalhal has repeatedly stated that he is not interested in breaking records, but Wednesday are just one clean sheet away from equalling a club-record 17 clean sheets in a league season. It is a feat the club achieved last season and in the 1978-79 campaign when Jack Charlton was in charge.
Goalkeeper Keiren Westwood said: “I’m not really looking at that (clean sheet record) to be honest. I’m looking at securing our place in the play-offs. If we win 2-1 next week, it won’t make a difference to me.”
Despite producing an impressive display in Saturday’s draw away to Derby County, Wednesday still have work to do to confirm their involvement in the end of season knockout tournament.
“It doesn’t matter how you get in to the play-offs; you just want to get in there,” said Westwood. “Without getting ahead of ourselves, we’ll look towards Cardif.
“We’re at home so it will be on us to take the game to them and I’m sure we will do.”
Westwood has expressed his disappointment over the Owls’ inability to have already sealed a top-six berth.
He said: “There have been some frustrating games. MK Dons at home, conceding late at Derby. We keep chipping away. Cardiff is going to be huge now.”
In 10 attempts, Wednesday have failed to beat any of the five sides directly above them in the standings, although they have drawn seven of those tussles.
Carvalhal said: “Ask the five teams what they are doing. How much money they spend. How many years of work they have. If it is the same coach and the same players. Look at the facilities they have. I am not criticising, it is positive.
“It will show a lot of difference at this moment. Not in the name of the clubs because Sheffield Wednesday is an historic club. In the present there is a big gap between our club and those clubs. You can’t build the things in one year what others are doing in three and four. They are not sleeping. They are working. I think we are in a very good way.”