Sheffield Wednesday Season Review

So what happened?

With one game to go in the Championship season, Sheffield Wednesday have secured a playoff spot for the second successive season. After losing in the final of the Championship playoffs last season, the Owls have a chance to return to the Premier League after a 17 year absence.

The Owls currently sit fourth in the Championship table on 81 points, level with Huddersfield who sit in 5th place. They are one point behind Reading who are in third.

Wednesday play Fulham this weekend in their final match of the season. Fulham sit in sixth and have all but guaranteed a playoff place but they cannot overtake the Owls even if they beat Wednesday.

So the Owls could finish third, fourth or fifth in the table which will have huge implications for the playoffs fixtures.

What changed?

Not much really, the core of the squad from last season has mostly remained intact. Fringe players Sergiu Bus, Marnick Vermijl, Lewis Price, Caolan Lavery and Daryl Lachman all left, whilst French winger Jeremy Helen shocked the club by retiring aged 24.

In terms of transfers into the club, Wednesday were significantly strengthened in the striking department with Scottish international striker Steven Fletcher joining on a free in July. The Owls did splash the cash though, signing Almen Abdi from Watford for £3 million. Wednesday also signed Daniel Pudil for £2 million after the Czech star had impressed on loan at Hillsborough last season. In August, Sheffield Wednesday smashed their transfer record by buying Adam Reach from Middlesbrough for £5 million. And Wednesday continued to strengthen during the January transfer window when they signed defender Morgan Fox and Sam Winnall for undisclosed fees. Jordan Rhodes also joined the club on loan during the final day of the January transfer window.

The summer additions significantly bolstered the Owls with Fletcher and Reach appearing in over 40 games. Fletcher is the second highest goal scorer at the club, scoring 10 goals in the league.

Premier League Football could soon be returning to Hillsborough for the first time since 2000.

How did they do it?

Sheffield Wednesday marked their intent to gain promotion this season after beating recently relegated Aston Villa 1-0 at home on the opening game of the season.

Aside from that result, the Owls began the season poorly, losing to Leeds and Burton. They failed to pick up their second win until the seventh game of the season when they beat Wigan 2-1.

Form improved significantly with the Owls then winning five of their next six games to sit comfortably within the top-half of the table at the end of October.

In November, Wednesday collected four points from nine, but they managed to pick up crucial points in the busy festive period, beating local rivals Barnsley and Rotherham before a very impressive 1-0 away win at Newcastle thanks to a goal from Glenn Loovens.

The Owls exited the FA Cup at the third round which allowed them to focus on the league. But Wednesday’s form was still indifferent, they would beat promotion rivals Huddersfield in one game before losing to promotion rivals Brighton the next game.

The start of February saw the Owls pick up four successive victories before suffering defeats to Brentford and Leeds.

Arguably the most impressive performance for the Owls was he 5-1 victory over Norwich on March 4th . The victory all but stopped Norwich and their chances of promotion.

At the start of April, Wednesday were uncertain of maintaining their place in the playoff picture. But the Owls played superb football, with six victories and one draw to end the month. This included seeing the Owls get the double over Newcastle, winning 2-1 with goals from Lees and Fletcher.

The form was so impressive that Carlos Carvalhal was awarded for his achievements with the Sky Bet Championship manager of the month award.

So what happens next year?

If they go up, Wednesday will return to the Premier League for the first time since 2000.  If they fail to go up, questions will surely be raised about Carvalhal’s position as manager.