Luton Town v Sheffield Wednesday – Owls face crunch time against key relegation rivals

BY around 9.50pm on Wednesday night, Sheffield Wednesday will be afforded a significant psychological insight regarding whether their mission to retain their Championship status is likely to be successful or not.

Sheffield Wednesday caretaker boss Neil Thompson. Picture: Steve Ellis.

Granted, whatever happens against Luton Town and Rotherham United in their next two games, Wednesday will still have 13 games remaining in the season.

But if they suffer two poor results and lack the intensity, application and fight to counter two outfits who are pretty abundant in those qualities, their dismal season will reach a new nadir.

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That is the pessimistic scenario, but caretaker-manager Neil Thompson is in the business of generating hope where there appears to be not a great deal.

The statistics show that his side have won half of their 10 Championship matches under his watch thus far, but a run of three successive sobering defeats without a goal being mustered is very much in the here and now.

As much as he can try and instigate a response, Thompson accepts it must ultimately come from the players who step out across the white line.

Anger was prevalent among a bruised group in the dressing room at Brentford after a 3-0 loss.

Now, it is about deeds, not words, fronting up and doing something about it and not looking for excuses – of which there are several – or feeling sorry for themselves.

FIGHTING FOR THEIR LIVES: Sheffield Wednesday remain in trouble after defeat at Brentford in midweek. Picture: Steve Ellis

That extends to the club’s staff and players in the view of Thompson, whose honesty has been refreshing to hear ever since he was handed the reins after the sudden departure of Tony Pulis.

On a key two games in the club’s season in every way, the 57-year-old – who insisted at the start of 2021 that highs and lows would arrive in the new year – said: “Even in the game the other night against Brentford, they were fighting for their lives to keep the ball out of the net when it went into the box. Just because they are a good football team did not mean they did not do that.

“In this division, you want to play if you can at the right times, but must win the battle. It goes hand in hand. You have to do both. The (next) games will be a battle because everyone wants to get points.”

Admitting that Wednesday will not get away with having any passengers both at Kenilworth Road today and against relegation rivals Rotherham in a midweek derby of critical importance, he continued: “Absolutely, not. You need everyone on board to go and produce their best.

“We know sometimes it does not work out for people, but that’s life and football. But having that (strong) attitude about you is key.

“Football is an emotive sport and we all get disappointed and frustrated when things don’t go right. It is how you react, deal with it and take responsibility.

“You have to take it on board yourself and think: ‘right, have I done enough?’ And if you haven’t, do something about it. That is not just players, but staff as well.

“We are where we are at the end of the day. We are in a tough situation and have been there all season. We need to get on the front foot, turn it around and show the right attitude.”

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