Sheffield Wednesday: Tom Lees calls on Owls to finish strongly

Tom Lees
Tom Lees

Tom Lees insists the Owls are prepared to sacrifice equalling a club-record of clean sheets in a single league campaign if it means they confirm a Championship play-off spot.

Wednesday, who moved above Huddersfield Town into fourth position after Saturday’s victory over Derby County, have chalked up 15 shut outs from their 44 league matches.

Should the Owls keep clean sheets in their final two fixtures, Carlos Carvalhal’s side will equal the club-record for the third year in a row. The record of 17 shutouts was initially set back by Jack Charlton’s team in the 1978/79 season.

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But Lees, the lynchpin of Wednesday’s back four, said: “It looked at one point of the season as if we would be cruising to it (the record).

“We have left it a bit late now and we will have to get two clean sheets to do that. But I would take getting into the play-offs over that, really.”

The Owls, last season’s beaten finalists, go to Ipswich Town this weekend knowing three points will secure a top-six finish.

“It would be nice to get the job done there and then we can start focusing on the play-offs and the manager can do what he wants to do in the last game of the season,” said Lees. “But we are not getting ahead of ourselves and we have got to secure it mathematically.”

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The 26-year-old believes Wednesday have learned how to grind out victories when not playing well.

Lees said: “You can look at the first half against Derby and nobody could argue that we were not playing pretty, pleasing-on-the-eye football, to be honest.

“I thought we were brilliant with a lot of stuff on the floor, balls around the corner, one and two touch play and a lot of one-twos.

“But we just didn’t create a final product and the second half was the complete opposite. It was not as good a performance and we didn’t play particularly well, but we scored two. At the moment, we are nicking goals, but we will take them.

“Last year probably helped us. We have been all the way now and played under pressure. We have been put under pressure over these last few weeks a lot of times and I think we have responded quite well.”

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