SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY: Happy days boost Owls

Key man: Miguel Llera scored with a superb free kick at Huddersfield last season and is in fine form
Key man: Miguel Llera scored with a superb free kick at Huddersfield last season and is in fine form

SMILES are back of the faces of Wednesday and their fans ahead of tomorrow’s Yorkshire derby at Huddersfield.

The Owls return to the scene of one of the great days of last season amid rising optimism after their improvement in results.

Only a couple of weeks ago an away derby against a team who have done better than Wednesday this season and won 3-1 at Hillsborough would have seemed another daunting task to some supporters.

But after the performances against Barnsley, Charlton and Bolton, there is no room for pessimism about the chances of earning something at the Galpharm Stadium, against a Terriers side who have not won in eight games.

It was a big promotion clash last Easter when the Owls last went there.

They won 2-0, sent on their way by a superb free kick from Miguel Llera, and with a second-half strike from Nile Ranger sealing a convincing victory.

Llera was a defensive powerhouse in the 1-0 win at Bolton two days ago.

There is no chance of Dave Jones getting complacent about tomorrow’s game, but he confirms: “We go there with confidence, coming off the back of three really good wins.

“We want to keep the momentum going.”

With the Owls still only fourth from bottom, and a five-point gap between them and the sixth-from-bottom side, Birmingham, Jones’s target is to drag more teams into the dogfight at the bottom end of the table:

“Instead of it being three or four out of five (to go down), I want it to be three from 10 or 12. We’re only just past halfway. There’s a lot of football still to be played.

“You can’t inject players with confidence. They have to earn it. That’s what they’ve done over the last few games.

“There’s always been a good atmosphere around the place, even when they were losing, but there’s that extra bit now, which helps - then when you work on things there’s a smile on everybody’s faces.

“There’s nothing better than winning. It’s a nice feeling. You get a lot of satisfaction from it.”

In terms of clean sheets, the current run is the best since four in row last spring, which included the Huddersfield game.

The next match brought a 1-1 draw at Colchester, which was seen at the time as a good point.

A similar result tomorrow perhaps would be judged on similar terms but the Owls players will be confident of making it four wins in a row.

Teams and Ref

OWLS (possible): Kirkland, Buxton, Llera, Gardner, R Johnson, Lee, Prutton, McCabe, Helan, Antonio, Sidibe. (4-4-2)

TERRIERS (possible): Smithies, Hunt, Clarke, Gerrard, Woods, Clayton, Norwood, Southern, Scannell, Beckford, Vaughan. (4-4-2).

MICK RUSSELL (Herts): Handled the Owls’ 3-2 win against Millwall on August 25, when Miguel Llera scored twice.