Season Review: Underwhelming Wednesday but decent Championship return for Blades

It has been a largely disappointing season for Sheffield football with both teams currently below the top ten in the Championship.

Sheffield Wednesday in particular have performed well below expectations as they find themselves in 16th place after finishing in the play-offs at the end of the previous two campaigns.

Carlos Carvalhal was dismissed from his position as manager of The Owls in December after seven games without victory.

His replacement, Jos Luhukay, has overseen the club for the second-half of the season. They currently sit one place below where they were when Carvahal was sacked.

Under a new manager, there was not a sudden upturn in fortunes, and an inability to score enough goals continued to frustrate the team and fans.

Injuries have ravaged the club throughout the season. Star attacking-midfielder Fernando Forestieri has only played eight league games this season, still managing to score four goals.

His two goals in the 3-0 win over Reading in April were a reminder of what Wednesday have seriously missed all season: creative flair.

Having started the season in very good goal-scoring form, an injury to striker Gary Hooper on Boxing Day was a further blow to Wednesday’s season, especially considering Hooper had reached double figures with his early-season efforts.

There have been positives, however, with youngsters such as midfielder Sean Clare and goalkeepers Cameron Dawson and Joe Wildsmith handed opportunities in the first-team due to the injuries.

Clare in particular has impressed since coming into the side for the 2-0 victory over Derby in mid-February, Luhukay’s first league win as Wednesday boss. Their final game of the season is against Norwich on Sunday.

By contrast, Sheffield United were feeling very upbeat after a superb start to the season, following their promotion from League One. Their 4-2 win at Hillsborough back in September illustrated the gulf in quality between the two Steel City sides.

Leon Clarke scored twice in that derby victory, and he has gone on to be named in the PFA Championship Team of the Year after his successful season. The forward has scored 18 league goals as the Blades’ play-off hopes were ruined by successive defeats against Preston and Birmingham.

Despite disharmony between manager Chris Wilder and the clubs owners, HRH Prince Abdullah bin Musa’ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Kevin McCabe, it has still been a largely promising season for the Blades, who are currently six points off the play-off positions with one to play.

A total of 19 victories over the course of the season has been a solid effort for the club who had spent six seasons in League One.

Midfielders John Fleck and fans’ player of the year, Mark Duffy, have had good individual campaigns, while 20-year-old David Brooks has shown glimpses of his huge potential after signing from Manchester City. Sending The Blades to the top of the table with the winner in a 2-1 win over Leeds United in October was a particular highlight.

The Blades may have stalled as the season comes to its climax with only one win in their last five games, but they have certainly set themselves a platform to build on for next season.