THE ONSET of autumn may be a source of regret for many, but not necessarily for Sheffield Wednesday.
A summer of discontent in many ways saw the club make unfortunate headlines, culminating in the announcement early last month that confirmed the Owls had been operating under a temporary transfer embargo since April – before it was finally lifted on August 17.
Early-season results in the opening few weeks of the season, allied to a heated fans’ forum in which chairman Dejphon Chansiri came in for criticism from supporters, added to a growing sense of disquiet surrounding the club.
But with the onset of September, allied to the possibility of more injured players returning to contention for a starting berth and some much-needed headway in the transfer market, Wednesday – seeking a third successive league victory this afternoon – are moving towards a better place.
A first signing in seven months arrived on deadline-day in the shape of Spurs midfielder Josh Onomah, while a further timely boost has also arrived this week with news that talismanic midfielder Barry Bannan has signed a new contract extension, following the example of striker Lucas Joao.
The Scot has been at the heartbeat of everything good on the pitch from the Owls in recent seasons and having laid down some roots at Hillsborough in a career which was in danger of becoming nomadic, his passion to propel the club back towards the top end of the Championship are sentiments that will reassure countless Wednesdayites.
Speaking ahead of today’s game at the Madejski, Bannan said: “Feeling loved when you go on to the pitch is what makes you want to play for this club.
“It is not about money.
“I love the club and since I have been here, it was been the best time I have had in football so far.
“The club have given me a chance when I was not playing as much as I would have liked to in my football club.
It is not about money. I love the club and since I have been here, it was been the best time I have had in football so far. I have got a connection with this club which I have had with no other.Barry Bannan
“I have got a connection with this club which I have had with no other.
“Since I have come here, we have been close to getting to the Premier League, apart from last season.
“This season, we have got all the injuries back and I think we have got a chance again.”
Professing his delight at the development, Owls head coach Jos Luhukay added: “It is really good news.
“Barry is one of our best players.
“It is very positive that in the last week that Barry and Lucas have signed contracts and see their futures with Sheffield Wednesday.”
After successive home league wins, the next tick in the box for Wednesday in terms of their Championship progress in 2018-19 is a maiden away league victory of the season at a venue where they have won just once in their past nine visits - and suffered six defeats.