Sheffield Wednesday: The turning point in Owls’ season

Ross Wallace
Ross Wallace

Ross Wallace reckons the catalyst for Wednesday’s impressive surge up the Championship table can be traced back to their defeat against his old club Burnley.

When the two sides last collided at Turf Moor in September, Carlos Carvalhal’s men fell to a cruel 3-1 loss.

Ross Wallace

Ross Wallace

The Owls played some enterprising, free-flowing football in their first match following the international break. New recruits Daniel Pudil, Barry Bannan and Fernando Forestieri all made their debuts and impressed.

Had Wednesday been more clinical in the final third, the final outcome could have been very different.

Since that slip-up, the Owls have tasted defeat in just three out of their last 22 Championship tussles, moving up from 19th to seventh in the standings.

Wallace told The Star: “We had just signed Barry and Fernando and even though we were beaten, we played some good stuff.

“We just clicked that day and from then on we have just come on leaps and bounds.

“I think that was the turning point for us. We knew that was our style of play and how we wanted to play.

“It was a tough game. Burnley work hard, have got some good players and got two goals at the end.”

Wallace left Burnley at the end of last season, having made 165 appearances in a five-year spell for Lancashire club, scoring 14 goals.

“I had a great time there,” he stressed. “I lived there for five or six years and we managed to get promoted a couple of times.

“We did unbelievably well to get promoted. We didn’t have a big squad. We had some really good individual talent in Danny Ings and Kieran Trippier and they were backed up by really good players.

“Sometimes, as players, you need to move on. I spoke to the manager at the end of last season and we just agreed that I could do with a fresh start. I have thoroughly enjoyed being with Sheffield Wednesday for the last seven to eight months.”

Burnley lie in third position, four points adrift of the top-two spots, having won four out of their last five Championship fixtures and Wallace fancies them to be there or thereabouts come the end of the campaign.

He said: “Burnley are a good side, have kept most of their players and that’s why they are doing really well.

“I think they will be automatically promoted this year. Anything less than that and I think they will be disappointed.

“There are probably three teams who look like going up automatically and they are one of them.”

Birmingham City, who the Owls take on this Saturday, are the only side in the play-off zone Carvalhal’s troops have managed to beat during the 2015/16 season.

“Our best performances of the season have probably been against the top teams,” said Wallace. “We played really well at home to Derby, especially in the first half. We just haven’t managed to get that one goal and get over the line.

“We want to put that right in the second half of the season and start beating the teams above us. We want to put a marker down and make a statement.”

The 30-year-old, chasing a hat-trick of promotions from the second-tier, is urging his teammates to learn from their FA Cup exit at the hands of Shrewsbury Town last Saturday.

“The disappointment is still there,” he said. “We wanted to win. We have a winning mentality here. We didn’t go to Shrewsbury thinking we were going to slack off. We picked a good team to win the match.”

Wallace, capped once by Scotland, is out of contract in the summer but has revealed he plans on taking up one-year option.

He said: “I’m loving playing here. We have a great bunch of lads and we have some really good players.

“We have signed some good players. The future is bright.

“I have got the option to extend it so I’m pretty sure that will kick in. I will be here ready to lace some boots for pre-season again!”

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