UTILITY player Sam Hutchinson insists that Sheffield Wednesday can still catch the top two of Newcastle United and Brighton and achieve automatic promotion into the Premier League, writes Leon Wobschall.
Sixth-placed Wednesday head into their televised Championship Boxing Day encounter at leaders Newcastle with plenty of ground to make up; they currently trail the Magpies and Seagulls by 12 and 11 points respectively.
It may represent a herculean task to overhaul that considerable points differential, but Hutchinson feels that the sixth-placed Owls should not give up hope.
The example of Burnley last term provides an inkling of inspiration, with the Clarets trailing the top two by eight and nine points respectively after the Boxing Day action, only to go on and win the league by a four-point margin in May.
On whether the Owls can reel in the top two, Hutchinson said: “Yes, until it is mathematically impossible, of course.
“There are always slip-ups in the Championship. We have not played anyone who have been a lot better than us in this league, so why not?”
Tyneside proved fertile ground in a renaissance moment for the Owls in their fine Capital One Cup victory last season and while the hosts are likely to prove a more formidable opponent tonight, so are Wednesday according to Hutchinson.
On the task for the Owls, seeking to emulate Yorkshire rivals Huddersfield Town and take three points at St James’ Park, he added: “Newcastle in their own backyard is probably the biggest test we have faced this season.
“Top of the league and a full house, I cannot wait.
“If we worry about ourselves and play well, then we can beat any team in this league.”