Win the derby or automatic dream is over

Flashback: Gary Madine celebrates his late equaliser in the Bramall Lane derby but the Owls need more than a draw on Sunday, says Terry Curran
Flashback: Gary Madine celebrates his late equaliser in the Bramall Lane derby but the Owls need more than a draw on Sunday, says Terry Curran

TERRY Curran believes that Sunday’s derby could be a turning point in the Owls’ season.

He feels that they certainly need to win if hopes of automatic promotion are to be kept alive.

Curran played for both Sheffield clubs but he is a Wednesdayite - he says it was the only reason he dropped out of the old First Division and left Southampton to join the Owls in the third tier.

“The home team should have the advantage,” said the man who starred in Jack Charlton’s promotion-winning 1980 side.

“But United are on a terrific run while Wednesday have lost their last four in the league and cup.

“It’s a good opportunity for Wednesday to get back on track, and if they want to get automatic promotion they have to win.

“It puts them under a bit more pressure, on top of the pressure that goes with a derby.

“So doubtless Gary Megson will be doing everything to make sure he gets the utmost from them.”

Curran believes that different factors have contributed to the Owls’ few setbacks this season: “I think they’ve been unlucky at times. But luck doesn’t get you results.

“And teams are going to raise their game when they play Wednesday, but they have to overcome that.

“At Exeter the other team scored two wonder goals from free kicks. However you prepare for games, there’s nothing you can do to legislate for goals like that.

“Teams such as Charlton and Stevenage have been well organised, and when you’re the home team you have to push forward while the opposition can just try to catch you on the counter attack.

“Wednesday have had chances where they haven’t won games: Chesterfield was a prime example. Wednesday were looking like the team who were going to score, then the other side got a penalty through a rash challenge.

“When you get goalscoring chances you have to take them. All the strikers, not just Gary Madine, have hit a bad patch. That will be disappointing to Gary Megson and he’ll be doing his utmost to try to get them out of it.”

A win for the Owls at Hillsborough on Sunday would put them only two points behind United, though the Blades still have two games in hand.

“This could be a turning point for Wednesday,” says Curran. “This is a game they can’t afford to lose.

“I think they’ll take the game to United but will have to be prepared for the counter-attack.

“I also think United will want to get through the first 20 minutes without conceding a goal and hope the home fans get on their team’s back.

“It’s going to be a tough game. United are playing well and Ched Evans is scoring goals for fun. Danny Wilson has done a tremendous job there.

“It’s down to Wednesday and Gary Megson to get themselves motivated for Sunday.”

Curran, who scored in both games against United in 1979-80, will be attending this Saturday night’s Hillsborough reunion dinner for the team who beat the Blades 4-0.

But he cannot attend the derby. He coaches at Doncaster Rovers’ centre of excellence and has a match on Sunday.