DURING his time as Hull City manager Steve Bruce could vouch for the passion and fanaticism of Sheffield Wednesday supporters on the biggest stage.
Bruce’s Tigers famously broke the hearts of the 40,000 Wednesdayites in the Championship play-off final at Wembley in May 2016, but the Owls’ incessant support on that Spring day left a lasting impression upon him.
The north-easterner will not officially start duties as Wednesday’s chief until February 1, but a telephone message has reinforced the importance of Owls players showing pride in front of another sell-out contingent at the KCOM Stadium today.
Assistant Steve Agnew said: “Funnily enough I spoke to Steve (on Thursday) and he said, ‘It is an East Yorkshire and South Yorkshire derby so make sure the players put on a performance’.
“We know there is going to be a following of about 2,500 Sheffield Wednesday supporters at the game.
“It is a clear message from the manager to say to the players, ‘go and enjoy yourselves and put on a performance for the supporters and let’s hope we all have an enjoyable day out at Hull’.”
Agnew believes that the Tigers, who have transformed their season in eye-catching fashion since the start of December, can serve as a template to follow for the Owls in their own quest to rise up the table.
“Hull are a great example. They had a tough start to the season and have now won five straight league games, which is remarkable,” added Agnew.
“Nigel and his staff have done a fantastic job with the players.
“I am sure they have had time on the training ground to implement their ideas. It probably took a little longer than they would have liked, but this is the Championship and any team at any time can go on a run and surprise the ones above them.”
This is the Championship and any team at any time can go on a run and surprise the ones above them.Steve Agnew