Club-record signing Adam Reach has challenged Sheffield Wednesday to emulate his old club Middlesbrough by gaining promotion to the Premier League following play-off heartache.
Reach was an unused substitute at Wembley when Boro lost 2-0 to Norwich City in the Play-Off final in 2015.
But that pain spurred Middlesbrough on and Aitor Karanka’s side pipped Brighton and Hove Albion to the second automatic promotion berth last May.
Reach, who spent most of last season on loan at Preston North End, told The Star: “It wasn’t easy but as a team we got over the final pretty quickly. It was our motivation to challenge again. Thankfully, we didn’t need Wembley last year and went up automatically.”
Wednesday have bolstered their ranks over the summer after losing to Hull City in the showpiece fixture, bringing in eight new reinforcements, including left-sided player Reach.
The 23-year-old winger, signed for an initial £5m from Boro on transfer deadline day, said: “Disappointments make you stronger.
“It is good that Wednesday have still got the core of the team who reached the final. The boys know how it feels to lose and don’t want that to happen again.
“The club have brought in some fresh faces like myself who have been in that situation before.
“You just have to get over the disappointment.
“I don’t think any of the lads are thinking about the final now. They have moved on.
“Middlesbrough got off to a slow start last season but we picked things up and got promoted in the end. Hopefully Wednesday can do the same again.”
Reach is in contention to make his Owls debut in Saturday’s Hillsborough showdown with Wigan Athletic. Carlos Carvalhal’s charges will be looking to halt a five-match winless strak.