WITH a proud 100 per cent record this year of victories over teams sitting in the top six, Sheffield Wednesday have developed an enviable reputation of putting a dent in a promotion challenge.
Hull City, Brighton & Hove Albion, Crystal Palace and Leicester City can testify to that, having all slumped to defeat against the resurgent Owls since the turn of the year when occupying a play-off place.
Today, though, will be an even bigger challenge as Cardiff City, who have led the Championship since late November, head to Hillsborough.
The Welsh club will be wary, not least because Wednesday have emerged triumphant against so many promotion challengers of late to give their own survival hopes a massive left.
Manager Dave Jones, who led the Welsh side out at Wembley in the 2008 FA Cup final, said: “Everyone has to keep their foot to the floor, keep progressing and keep doing the right things.
“It took us time to adjust to this level, for us to get the right team out there and to get them doing what we want them to do.
“Now we are settled, we are not as naïve, players are performing to the best of their ability and we want to keep that going until the end of the season.
“Then we can build on it, reflect on what’s happened and where we feel we went wrong and what we can do better but the major thing, first and foremost, is that we stay in this division.”
Wednesday sit four points clear of the drop zone with a points tally of 43 from 36 games. Usually, the target for any manager chasing survival will be 50 points but Jones believes this season will be even more demanding.
He said: “We may need more than 52 points to stay up.”
On current form, Wednesday are well on the way to achieving that target, though they will today be without Connor Wickham following the striker’s recall by Sunderland.
The loss of Wednesday’s matchwinner in their most recent game, at Leicester City, is a blow, though Jones is actively scouring the loan market before next Thursday’s deadline for a possible replacement.
He said: “We are always on the look-out and trying to improve the squad.
“It is just a question of whether we can get the players.”