THE fact that Sheffield Wednesday are yet to beat a side above them in the Championship table is an anomaly over which Sam Hutchinson is not losing any sleep.
The Owls have competed against the division’s best, but are yet to take the scalp of a big-hitter.
It is something that is likely to rankle with Wednesdayites, who fear that sequence might come back to haunt them in the final analysis this term.
Yet Hutchinson’s take on proceedings is somewhat different.
Wednesday, currently in seventh place, have proved consistent in terms of form against the teams directly below them, beating the likes of Brentford, Birmingham and Wolves and Hutchinson believes if that trait continues, it will help mitigate for the lack of success against the top-six.
Hutchinson told The Yorkshire Post: “At the end of the day, if we don’t beat any of them (leading teams) and at the end of the season get in the play-offs and are promoted, it doesn’t matter.
“Obviously we would have to beat them in the play-offs, but no one is going to say anything.
“I’d much prefer getting in the play-offs and not beating any of them rather than finishing eighth in the second half.
“You can look at statistics in certain ways and some are good and some are bad. It is what it is.
“Last season, we did well against Watford and Bournemouth who were promoted and it’s swings and roundabouts. We have done well against the teams around us and the two games in which we were really bad were against teams at the bottom (MK Dons and Charlton).
“The way we look at it is that we played well against Derby and while in the two games against Middlesbrough we haven’t shown ourselves to be the best, we still improved on the first meeting.
“We are getting better and it is just consistency that we have got to look for and try and get a good run of games and keep going, not just two or three games. I think that will come.
“We haven’t been outplayed by many teams and can outpass most teams. If we just get a couple of injuries back and get the team settled again, we will be fine.
“I think six points out of nine over this Christmas period with how busy it has been is not a bad turnaround.”
Something that Hutchinson tacitly accepts could do with improving is the Owls’ away form, with Carlos Carvalhal’s side heading into today’s game at Craven Cottage without a win in five Championship road trips since taking the derby spoils in their televised match at Rotherham United on October 23.
Their haul of just two wins is the 17th-worst record in the division and Hutchinson admits that there is room for improvement on that count.
He added: “The gaffer wants Hillsborough to be a fortress and we have done really well there and the last two games have been brilliant and previously we have done well.
“Obviously, we want to improve our away form because we know that will get us up the table
“Fingers crossed, we can get going and improving what we are doing. We have seen the progression throughout the season. We started off slowly because there were lots of new people coming in and we have gradually got better.
“We can still do better. We have been unlucky in certain games and have just come ‘off’ a bit and other teams have taken advantage.”
Overall, Wednesday’s campaign has been an uplifting one with the future looking rosy with the ‘sleeping giant’ having stirred into life so far in 2015-16.
From a personal perspective, it is also a season that has proved wholesome and nourishing for Windsor-born Hutchinson, who admits that he has never been happier in his career and is hoping to be part of something special at one of football’s venerable institutions.
He added: “Professionally, I am enjoying this season the most. It was a good second half of the year (2015) to me and long may it continue.
“As much as I was a Chelsea fan and love Chelsea, I am the happiest I have ever been in football and outside of football here.
“I have got my two kids up here and they love it.
“I miss living down south as I am from there. But being here has got something special and you just want to achieve something here.
“It’s a dormant club, at the end of the day, and has underachieved for so many years and I think players can see it going somewhere.
“It’s got that structure, fan base and a bit of money behind it and I think the club can go places.
“People can see it as a project and want to be part of doing something for all the fans.”
On his future, Hutchinson, who will be out of contract in June, said: “I have spoken to the club and they know my feelings about it and I know their feelings.
“When it happens, it happens. But football is football and anything can change at any moment.”
Meanwhile, a familiar face in the shape of ex-Owls head coach Stuart Gray will be in the opposing dug-out this afternoon.
And Hutchinson is quick to acknowledge the role he has played in his career with his only regret being that he could not play more games for Gray due to injury issues last term.
He added: “Stuart was the reason I signed here after my loan spell.
“The beginning of the season was great and I started really well and then got injured and never got fit again and struggled throughout last season, if I am honest.
“It was nothing to do with Stuart and down to my own fitness; I could just never get fit. But Stu was fantastic when he was here and I wish him all the best.”