Owls look to banish away day blues

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Gary Megson will seek further proof this weekend that Sheffield Wednesday’s travel sickness has been cured - at the ground where he first diagnosed the problem.

It was in February last season that a 3-0 defeat at Tranmere early in Megson’s reign convinced the new boss that a team shake-up was essential to progress.

Only three members of that side - Gary Madine, James O’Connor and Reda Johnson - are expected to be in the line-up for Saturday’s return to Prenton Park.

The intervening nine months has, appropriately enough, been a period of rebirth - not to mention a process of kicking and screaming.

“We had Giles Coke sent off and then just capitulated,” Megson recalls. “It became obvious that things needed to change. We’re now looking resolute away from home and playing some decent stuff.”

Not that the same warning signals have disappeared altogether. Now, as then, the Owls will take a big following to Birkenhead.

That can be an even bigger stimulant to the opposition, something it has taken a much-changed team with a tougher mentality to handle.

“I went to Tranmere last Saturday to see them play Cheltenham in the FA Cup,” said Megson, who witnessed a 1-0 home defeat in front of a crowd barely over 3,000.

“I had a chat to the Tranmere chairman Peter Johnson about how different it will be when we go there. Cheltenham had about 100 supporters in the ground whereas we sold out on our tickets two weeks in advance.

“That changes the whole atmosphere and ethos of a game. The gates of the clubs we visit are invariably their biggest of the season and that gives the opposition a huge lift.”

But Megson, so grateful for the backing that he wouldn’t have it any other way, added: “We’ve got some really good, honest people in the team. People who work hard and who put the club first.”

Megson will be looking to build on it in January despite playing down links with players include former loan striker Neil Mellor. “There are positions we might look at, but with the way the club is run financially there are things we can’t do,” said the Owls boss, accepting that, in common with most clubs, Wednesday are cutting their cloth. I don’t like the mend and make do aspect of management, but where needs must.”