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It’s time for Sheffield Wednesday to progress from surviving to thriving

by Josh Powell | July 28, 2013
SLICK MICK: Michail Antonio was last season's top scorer and will be banging them in again

SLICK MICK: Michail Antonio was last season’s top scorer and will be banging them in again

Championship previews | Sheffield Wednesday

Real Championship football fans give the Paddy Power Blog their honest previews for the new season. Wednesday fan Eddie Hoyland (@sausagearms), who works for Wednesdayite (@wednesdayite), is looking forward to flirting with a top six finish.

State of play: Despite only surviving on the last day of the season, the Owls were the second-best team in the division in the second half of last term. We only finished three points from tenth, and up until the loss at Leeds we still had an outside shot at the playoffs, such was this crazy division in 2012-13.

Realistically, the aim this season has to be to progress from ‘survive’ to ‘thrive’ – a top 10 finish and a flirtation with the play-off spots would represent a good season.

How’s the gaffer? Dave Jones has survived two terrible runs of defeats and come back stronger for it – the fans like him and he’s building a typical ‘Dave Jones team’ to push up the table. He’s not prone to grandstanding, but his quiet competence is refreshing after years of turmoil at Hillsborough.

Terrace hero: Top scorer Michail Antonio is the most exciting of a crop of pacey, tricky wide men we have and should represent our most potent attacking threat. But our strength since Christmas lay in firm defensive foundations, and Chris Kirkland and captain Antony Gardner will look to dominate at the back again.

Big-time Charlie: We really don’t have any players who aren’t worthy of the shirt – Dave Jones has moved out some of last season’s disappointments, such as Slovenian Nejc Pecnik. The challenge is to go from ‘steady’ to ‘contenders’.

Worst away ground in the Championship and why? South Yorkshire neighbours Barnsley have a refreshingly old-school approach to facilities, in that there are none. But the long drag down to the New Den is rarely a pleasure.

Which Championship side have the best away fans? You can’t look too much further than Leeds for numbers, although the Owls more than stake their claim to having the biggest and loudest following.

Who is your dream Championship signing? For a player to score as many as he did in a side as poor as Blackburn’s, Jordan Rhodes really was incredible last season. But I’m looking forward to seeing Tom Ince develop for another season in this division – he’s an electrifying prospect.

What is your best terrace chant?

‘He’s faster than Bolt, he’s faster than Bo-o-olt, Jermaine Johnson, he’s faster than Bolt’

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