Groundwork for derby glory

Admirer: Chris Evans  has paid tribute to the marvellous Owls support
Admirer: Chris Evans has paid tribute to the marvellous Owls support

WEDNESDAY are quietly focusing on doing a professional job at Bramall Lane without getting carried away by the emotion of the day.

But they are also in tune with the feelings of the fans and want to make them proud of the team, says Chris Evans.

Admirer: Chris Evans has paid tribute to the marvellous Owls support

Admirer: Chris Evans has paid tribute to the marvellous Owls support

The Owls assistant manager, who relishes the prospect of his first all-Sheffield match, knows about derbies from his time at Wolves, where he spent almost 20 years, and Bolton, where he worked with Gary Megson.

“At Bolton we played Manchester United; people often don’t realise that’s a derby, but it is. That was memorable,” he said.

“At Wolves, when you play West Brom it’s a big one. Interestingly. they play each other this Sunday as well.

“The Wolves and West Brom fans, like the Sheffield ones, live together in close-knit communities, and live together and socialise together like the Sheffield fans do.

“That’s why derby games like these are so special. They’re big days out for everybody involved, and everybody looks forward to them.”

Wednesday fans have made a big impression on Evans since he joined the club: “You look at the difficulties that the club have had in their recent history, yet they back us like top-end Premier League supporters, which is what I believe they are.

“Within two days we sold our 4,300 allocation for the derby. We desper

ately wanted more tickets but couldn’t get them.

“The average gate in League One is 6,600. We have sold 10,000 tickets for the beam-back at Hillsborough so far. So for an away game we’ll have going on for three times the division’s average attendance cheering us on. That’s how much it means to them.

“We take all that on board. We desperately want to do well for them.

“We want them to be proud of us. We’re going to put in a good shift for them. We’re can only do that by having mental strength and being totally focused from the first whistle to the last.

“I’ve known beambacks before, for Wolves against West Brom, but I don’t recall there being such fervour and phenomenal demand as there is here for what is a special day for everybody. I‘m really looking forward to it.”

Evans has not changed his opinion that Wednesday are “a work in progress” and that a lot of graft lies ahead this season:

“We do our best every week to try to take points and add to the start we have had.”

“We said after the last game and after the game before that, when things have been going well, that now is the time to redouble our workrate.”

One to watch

Wednesday fans will look to Gary Madine but Unitedites hope to have their own goal hero in Ched Evans. The £3 million man has only scored three goals so far - two in the league and one in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy - but missed the start of the season through injury and has made just six appearances.

History lesson

You have to go back to 2001-02 to find the last time both Sheffield derby games during a season were drawn. There were 0-0 stalemates at Hillsborough on October 7 and Bramall Lane on January 29.