Sheffield Wednesday: The pressure will have raised says former Owl Smith
As a former Sheffield Wednesday skipper Dean Smith knows all about the pressure of playing for the Owls at Hillsborough.
And he is hoping the raised expectations resulting from Wednesday’s push into the top six will play in the favour of his Brentford side this afternoon.
Smith made 55 appearances for Wednesday between February 2003 and May 2004 and was made captain by Chris Turner.
It was a difficult time for the club, who were relegated to the third tier for the first time in 23 years at the end of the centre half’s first campaign and battled against the drop again the following season.
The mood around Hillsborough has improved significantly in the 11-and-a-half years since Smith’s departure.
But he believes Wednesdayites will have increased expectations after moving into the play-off positions over the last month.
And Smith thinks that could put pressure on the Owls’ 14 game unbeaten run at Hillsborough.
“There is the side of it that Sheffield Wednesday have now gone into the top six,” Smith said.
“It comes with that added pressure.
“Being an ex-Sheffield Wednesday captain myself, the pressure of the cauldron at Hillsborough can put a lot of pressure on the players at the club.”
It is not only Hillsborough that Smith knows all about as he brings his Bees side up the M1.
The 44-year-old was assistant manager at Leyton Orient when current Wednesday striker Gary Hooper joined on loan in 2007.
And he knows all about the qualities of a striker who has netted seven goals in his last six matches.
“Wednesday have gone and spent a lot of money to get Gary Hooper,” Smith said.
“I know a lot about Hoops.
“I had him at Leyton Orient early in his career and you could always see the ability he has got.
“He’s been a regular goalscorer for them.
“They’ve got players who can go and open things up in Hooper, Forestieri, Ross Wallace.
“They’ve got a number of players who can hurt you so defensively, we know we’re going to have to be at our best.
“We’ve been working on that.”
Brentford head to Hillsborough having won just one of their last six league matches, seeing their play-off hopes take a major hit.
Midfielder Josh McEachran suffered a hip injury during their 3-0 defeat to Brighton last weekend and is a doubt for today’s game, having only returned to training on Thursday.