Cheltenham Town v Sheffield Wednesday: Moore calls for unity as Owls aim to become mentally strong

Darren Moore has employed a sports psychologist to try and help shift some of the mental hang-ups which are holding up Sheffield Wednesday and now he wants the help of supporters too.

Not since Clayton Donaldson gave Birmingham City the lead on February 6, 2016, have the Owls come from behind to win a game away from home.

Barry Bannan, Liam Palmer and Joe Wildsmith have been at the club throughout while Sam Hutchinson - missing again through injury today - and Jack Hunt have left and come back but for all the changes on and off the field since, the albatross remains.

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Moore wants it shifting and today’s game at Cheltenham Town offers an opportunity, though of course it would involve giving the Robins a headstart.

MENTAL BARRIERS: Darren Moore has hired a sports psychologist at Wednesday. Picture: Steve Ellis

Wednesday have had tremendous away support this season and their manager thinks they can help. The Hillsborough crowd booed the players on a number of occasions during last week’s unconvincing draw with Lincoln City, but Moore needs them onside.

“For a stat to be around that lingers so long is incredible but it’s here,” he said.

“I’ve got the bit between my teeth and the players have to deal with it.

“I’m calling all Wednesday fans, let’s get together, let’s get after this. It’s a rallying call, really, to supporters, players and staff to unite and address this stat that’s been hanging over this football club for season after season.

COMEBACK: Jack Hunt was one of a handful of players playing at Wednesday when they last came from behind to win a game. Picture: Steve Ellis

“They can play a massive part as our 12th man. It’s a terrible stat that started in 2016 and it’s just ebbed away at the fortunes of the club.

“We’ve tried to readdress a lot of things and freshen things up but I really firmly believe if we show unity and togetherness as fans, players and staff - anybody and everybody connected with Sheffield Wednesday - we can address it.

“It’s something we spoke about on Friday. Let’s address it now. Let’s not cry over it, let’s look ahead, unite and take this on.

“We’ve all got a part to play because nobody at this football club is happy about it. As a manager in a competitive world, my attitude is ‘Come on, let’s go’.”

Moore has also enlisted professional help, employing a sports psychologist to help the players through these issues.

“I felt it was right to bring one into the group because we’re trying to get any small margin here to make us better. We’ve had one in since the start of the season and it’s great the players have a real buy-in.”

Another mental barrier to overcome is a tendency to concede late goals, especially from set pieces.

“You try and replicate situations and scenarios (in training),” said Moore. “You try and create situations where it’s almost a siege mentality and you’re overloaded but as much as you can try and replicate the situation, sometimes it’s on the day.

“We have to get the right contact on it from an attacking and defensive point of view.

“We’ve identified areas where we have to better and we need to be better.”