Sheffield Wednesday’s terrible start to life in the Championship has actually helped unite the Hillsborough dressing room.
That’s the view of Owls striker Chris O’Grady, who netted the only goal in the South Yorkshire derby against Barnsley on Saturday.
Victory at Oakwell was just Wednesday’s third win in 20 matches in all competitions, and ended seven successive defeats for Dave Jones’s side.
Jones has long-insisted the Hillsborough dressing room had no divisions, despite plunging into the Championship relegation zone, and 26-year-old O’Grady says out of adversity has come a siege mentality.
“I think the more losses you get, it brings you together more with each defeat,” he said. “Maybe the first couple (of losses) you don’t blame each other, but you are not together and wonder why this is happening.
“With more losses it forces you to come together, identify what has gone wrong, and rectify it, which is what’s happened (against Barnsley).
“We can’t get carried away with just one win, we had a similar run a month or two ago, when we got a couple of wins. We need to keep building, getting positive results, rather than just the odd win here or there.
“We need start setting foundations, getting a few draws, going a few games unbeaten, just a bit more consistency.
“It’s vitally important (we kick on) or we will go down. We need to start building and get a run of results.
“We believe we can stay up, if you don’t you are doomed before you start. You just have to believe in yourself and be committed to the cause.”
The last time Wednesday won, they enjoyed back-to-back triumphs over Ipswich Town and Peterborough United at the end of October. But then came an horrendous run of defeats to Blackpool, Middlesbrough, Nottingham Forest, Leicester City, Watford, Cardiff City and Bristol City,
The Owls have three more games before Jones can strengthen in the January transfer window, starting with the visit of Charlton Athletic to Hillsborough on Saturday. Then come trips to Bolton on Boxing Day, and Huddersfield Town three days later.
Wednesday were below their best at Oakwell, having played far better seven days earlier against Bristol City only to lose 3-2 by conceding two late goals.
That has been the story of the Owls’ season so far this campaign, punished for lapses in concentration and ill-discipline.
Asked if there were fears Wednesday would concede another late goal at Barnsley, O’Grady said: “I suppose there were (fears), but we were due a bit of luck because we haven’t had much recently.
“They say these things even themselves over the season but on reflection this season we haven’t had much luck so it was nice to get some today.”
And O’Grady said the clean sheet – just Wednesday’s second in the Championship – was reward for goalkeeper Chris Kirkland, who has been one of Jones’s best transfer signings since the Owls won promotion in May.
“Personally, I thought of Chris Kirkland because he has been really good this season,” said O’Grady, who netted his sixth goal of the season at Oakwell.
“I looked at the programme before the game and, of all the games he has played, he has had one clean sheet which isn’t really a fair reflection on him. It was pleasing to win for him.”