Sheffield Wednesday: Owls out to avoid repeat of 2011

Ex-Owls boss Gary Megson
Ex-Owls boss Gary Megson

It was a defeat which made the headlines for all the wrong reasons as far as Sheffield Wednesday are concerned.

Almost four years have passed since a youthful Owls side suffered a humiliating 14-0 defeat at non-league Alfreton Town in a pre-season friendly.

Due to a shortage of players, Wednesday, managed at the time by Gary Megson, considered calling off the warm-up match but they decided to go ahead with the planned fixture.

It proved to be something of a chastening experience for Wednesday’s youngsters as Alfreton raced into a half-time 9-0 lead. They scored five more times after the break, with Nathan Arnold, Nathan Jarman and Paul Clayton all bagging hat-tricks.

Following the tussle, Reds chairman Wayne Bradley criticised the Owls, claiming they under-estimated the calibre of their players and “sent boys into a man’s world”.

But Bradley has told The Star he expects there to be no repeat of that one-sided encounter when the two sides go-head-to-head at the Impact Arena on Saturday, July 11, kick-off 3pm. Yesterday, Wednesday confirmed they will begin their pre-season programme with a trip to the Vanarama National League North outfit and it will be the first meeting between the two clubs since July 2011.

“We have a good relationship and rapport with Sheffield Wednesday,” said Bradley. “This is a fixture that has been on the cards for quite a while and we are looking forward to it.

“There was a disappointment four years ago. It was not as much for us. There were a lot of supporters who came from Sheffield and I think they were probably disappointed to come and see their team lose in such a manner.

“They [Wednesday] stretched themselves and decided in their wisdom to send a young side.

“Their lads were not on the mark that day and it was a mismatch.

“But things have moved on since then and hopefully there will not be a miss-match this time around. If anything, we are hoping they don’t embarrass us with their quality.”

Tickets for the Alfreton fixture are priced at £10 for adults, £5 concessions and £2 Under-16s.

After Alfreton, the Owls travel to Ilkeston on Wednesday, July 15. They then go to League Two side York City three days later. Wednesday played York in their maiden friendly last year, winning 2-0 thanks to a Keith Lowe own goal and a spectacular strike by Chris Maguire.

As part of their pre-season training camp in Portugal, Wednesday will face Braga at Estadio da Nora, Ferreiras, Albufeira on July 24.

Their penultimate friendly is a clash away to Scunthorpe United on July 29 before they round off their schedule at home to Scottish Championship club St Mirren on Saturday, August 1.

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