Oxford United v Sheffield Wednesday: Moore's history lesson shows there's no need to panic

SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY'S position at the top of League One may look precarious heading into the Easter programme, but Darren Moore will be the last person to panic - and with good reason.

Moore's first experience in management emphatically taught him that when the West Brom side he took caretaker charge of in April 2018 were virtually down and out – and propping up the Premier League table following an atrocious eight-match losing sequence which led to the sacking of Alan Pardew.

Moore stepped up and took over a side who were effectively 11 points adrift of safety with six matches left – and almost pulled off a miraculous 'Great Escape'.

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A brilliant victory at Manchester United proved the catalyst to the late charge and while Albion agonisingly just failed to complete their mission, Moore earned plaudits for his calmness and direction when a fanbase had all but given up.

Darren Moore. Picture: PA.Darren Moore. Picture: PA.
Darren Moore. Picture: PA.

In the here and now, it should handy provide perspective for nervy Wednesdayites ahead of today’s trip to Oxford United.

Owls chief Moore, whose side are level on points at the summit with Plymouth and two points clear of third-placed Ipswich – with both having a game in hand – said: "At the time, we (West Brom) had six games remaining and I remember taking the first point against Swansea and then winning at Old Trafford and then picking up a point against the Champions League finalists in Liverpool.

"Then we beat Tottenham and Newcastle. We had to go to Crystal Palace, but there was a game in midweek between Swansea and Southampton and we needed that to be a draw to take it to a final day, but unfortunately Southampton won.

"But we showed how one result can spark a run of games.

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"At this stage of the season, with all these games to play and points to play for, you can time a run of games.

"We feel as a team we are in a better position with where we are at this season and that our mindset and mentality is better in terms of learning from that (last season).

"I have every faith in this group of players this season – in terms of what they have done so far and continue to bring every day in training."

Despite his side being without a win since March 11 and under pressure from Ipswich and Yorkshire rivals Barnsley – five points behind, but also with a game in hand – Moore is mindful that events could quickly swing in their favour again.

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Hoping that a quick turnaround can work to his side’s advantage, Moore, who must make do without Josh Windass, George Byers, Jack Hunt, Michael Ihikewe and Ben Heneghan, continued: "With the Easter weekend, you get two games in quick succession over three or four days and then all of a sudden, you are into the final furlong then.

"There is still a lot of football to be played, but these Easter games means there are a lot of points available. The league table could look very, very different after the Easter break, going into the final furlong of the season.”

After visiting Oxford, Wednesday return to action against Accrington Stanley at Hillsborough on Easter Monday.