Sheffield Wednesday v Rotherham United: Can the Owls' 'Shrewsbury moment' be a catalyst for change again?

ALMOST exactly six months to the day, something significant within the psychology of a Sheffield Wednesday season happened.

It exhibited an outpouring of unadulterated emotion, but also defiance from loyalists on an afternoon when Wednesday won at Shrewsbury, but saw their hopes of finishing in the top two of League One end.

It was not an afternoon for recriminations.

A loud and proud chant of ‘Come on Wednesday’ greeted players when they went over and clapped their 1,642 travelling contingent in Shropshire at the game’s conclusion. It provided succour for the Owls’ next journey, which involved the play-offs.

Sheffield Wednesday head coach Danny Rohl, pictured during his opening Championship game in charge at Watford on Saturday. Picture: Rhianna Chadwick/PA WireSheffield Wednesday head coach Danny Rohl, pictured during his opening Championship game in charge at Watford on Saturday. Picture: Rhianna Chadwick/PA Wire
Sheffield Wednesday head coach Danny Rohl, pictured during his opening Championship game in charge at Watford on Saturday. Picture: Rhianna Chadwick/PA Wire
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Which brings us to midweek. In its own way, the scenes at the end of Wednesday’s game way out west at Plymouth were similarly impressive - and even more remarkable in truth.

Another sizeable following were in raucous voice, despite their side losing 3-0 after another tough episode at Home Park.

At the final whistle, players were greeted not with opprobrium, but hearty, proper support.

No toys were thrown out of the pram, admirably. Just as the Owls’ support touched former manager Darren Moore back in the spring, so Danny Rohl was lifted by events in Devon.

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No points maybe, but a connection - and a starting point in a fightback. It provided fuel for today's South Yorkshire derby at least.

Rohl, speaking ahead of his first home match in charge, said: "This is very special in this club. After a 3-0 defeat, it is not normal to get this support from the ground.

"There is a good feeling and it is what we need and very helpful that they give us energy to go forward. It was very impressive to see what happens after a defeat like this.

"It showed a lot of things. I wish the fans (get) the first win because they deserve it, travelling all that way.

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"What we have to do is give everything on the pitch to play with a big heart. They are waiting for the first win and we want to give them a present back for their big support."

Part of the reaction at Argyle could be explained by blind faith. But equally, Wednesdayites aren’t daft.

Even accounting for their side’s stricken position at the bottom of the Championship, they saw a sliver of hope, crucially.

Despite the scoreline, there was something to buy into at least in terms of an element of threat going forward. As there was at Watford on Saturday.

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Unlike virtually all the games which preceded it. Small acorns and all that.

Wednesday’s two games under Rohl - purely in terms of results - mean that things have got worse before they have a chance of getting better.

Their total of three points is the fewest ever in Championship history after 13 games. They are also the first team in the competition’s existence to lose 10 of their first 13 matches.

They also jointly hold the ‘distinction’ of scoring the least number of goals - five - in the opening 13 games in Championship history.

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Leaders are dealers in hope and Rohl has provided just a touch.

Rohl continued: "We know the gap is big at the moment, but I’m convinced that if the process is right, then the results will come. Hopefully we will start on Sunday.

"It’s about finishing the next action, scoring for the first time (in a game first) and taking the first win.

"Then I am convinced we can go forward and it’s all about creating something special and then self-confidence comes back.

"It’s about our process and our way.

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"We had some really good opportunities (at Plymouth) and the quality has to be higher in implementation. Now we have to find ways to come into the box.

"We had some smart passes in the box and this was dangerous and an improvement.

"I am convinced if we do this again and again, we will score (goals).

"When you see the data and compare it to before I arrived here, it has been a big step forward. Our counter-pressing is more and more dangerous against the opponents.

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"It is much better because we have more ball possession and the ball is on the ground (more).

"It means we have shorter distances to go with the counter-pressing and the shorter distances to go and counter-press because our positioning is much better.

"We are finding the pressing triggers and when is the right moment to press.

"Now it’s about more front foot defending to win the ball in higher areas.”

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Rohl will have plenty of people wishing him well when he steps out for the first time at S6 today.

Emotional backing will be provided by his nearest and dearest in attendance. They will also be crossing their fingers, just as thousands of Wednesdayites are.

Rohl continued: "I am looking forward to it and as my wife and two kids will be there and my parents. It’s good for my staff and coaches that all the families are here at the weekend.

"Wednesday will have a lot of new German fans now because they are all supporting us. It’s good.”