As regular readers of this column will know, I like a statistic.
So I am going to kick this piece off by reeling off some facts and figures:
*With five Championship matches left, Sheffield Wednesday have already accrued one more point than they managed in the whole of last season.
*Stuart Gray’s men have kept 18 clean sheets in all competitions and are just one shut-out away from equalling a league club-record.
*Sheffield Wednesday have one of the best away records outside the top-six, winning nine times on the road.
Despite the clear progress the Owls have made, you would think all is not well judging by some of the comments posted on social media following the team’s 2-0 defeat at Carrow Road. The fact is clubs sometimes need a reality check to push on and identify the areas they need to improve in the future.
Monday’s clash highlighted the big gulf in quality Wednesday have to bridge if they are to mount a sustained promotion challenge next season. Even former Owls forward John Pearson admitted it was one of the most one-sided matches he could remember. Wednesday were outclassed and could have lost by a bigger margin.
“Norwich have got two or three good players who can’t even get on their bench,” conceded Gray.
The Easter programme certainly did Wednesday no favours. It does seem grossly unjust that the Canaries played on Good Friday and had the luxury of an extra preparation day while Gray’s side were forced to play twice in the space of three days.
Striker Caolan Lavery told me: “If you are going to have a busy Easter schedule, I think it is only fair for every team to have the same amount of recovery days. It was difficult having a day’s less rest than Norwich but it is no excuse for the result.”
The Canaries will probably go up so it is no disgrace to lose to them. The problem for Wednesday and all the other teams in the league is the three clubs who come down from the Premier League will receive huge parachute payments to help them adjust to life outside the top flight. It certainly doesn’t make it a level playing field.
What owner Dejphon Chansiri will need to do in the summer is get the chequebook out and provide Gray with the cash to bring in reinforcements and make Wednesday an even stronger outfit.