Eleven games into last season, a club who were in the knockout stages of the UEFA Cup 13 years ago were at their nadir, 88th in the league pyramid. They were a club rebuilding, looking to recapture past glories.
They stuck by manager Ian Evatt and are now seventh in League One, five places above the Owls. They have picked up 87 points from a season’s-worth of games.
As a club in their own rebuilding phase after relegation to the third tier prompted a complete squad overhaul, and who have picked up five points from the last 18 available, the Owls could learn some lessons. Manager Darren Moore says he is only thinking about the short term, though.
“I look at the short term because the games are coming thick and fast and you’ve got to play them,” he insists. “We’re part of a league where we’re sometimes playing three games in a seven-day period.
“We’ve got to address the here and now and what we’re trying to do. By solely looking at each game individually and looking at the weeks individually, that’s where you work towards making sure you’re getting things right.
“The more short-term boxes you can tick, it builds consistency for the longer term. That’s exactly what we’re trying to do. They’re the messages I put out there.
“There are a lot of cases where teams and clubs have been where we are currently. There are clubs operating in League One who probably anticipated they wouldn’t be. That’s why I just focus on the here and now and don’t look too far ahead.
“I’m a firm believer that we consistently put the work in and see performances improving and results will start coming. Then you start building that consistency we’re trying to work towards.”
Others, though, will have to look at the bigger picture. Owner Dejphon Chansiri is hardly renowned for his patience but Moore will need it, frustrating though it is for a club which attracts massive gates at this level to be struggling against third-tier sides. It is a test for those supporters too.
Attendances do not win you League One matches. Only Sunderland can outdo the Owls on that front, yet they are in their fourth season marooned at this level. The Owls’ previous two stints in England’s third division were two-year affairs, their only other one a five-year saga.
“The chairman wants results now but we understand there has been a lot of change at the football club,” says Moore. “We want to be competitive and win games.
“There are a lot of new faces and it’s out there for all to see. We’re a professional club competing in a great league.
“League One is like no other season. There are seven teams who have been in the Premier League. We are under no illusions at how difficult it is.
“The division comes with so many hurdles and you have got to cope with the demands. You have to be absolutely spot on when you play.
“You have got to earn the right to get promoted. You don’t get given it to you.
“There is a lot of hard work ahead, a lot of cohesion and togetherness (needed).
“When I was a player, I managed to achieve five promotions. It was never easily given to us.”
Moore knows he needs to get more out of his team at both ends.
Bailey Peacock-Farrell has had some poor moments in goal lately so the change of scenery which has seen him go away with Northern Ireland and Joe Wildsmith take over the gloves could help.
Some youngsters are still finding their feet but the experienced Sam Hutchinson is back after a couple of games out to help them.
“We have had spells in games where we have had 20 to 30 minutes of blistering football and not quite taken full advantage of it,” says Moore. “We have to keep working on that consistent approach.
“We have got new players and there are always combinations that need to develop.
“When you look at the games, there have been lapses in concentration, there have been decisions that have not gone our way.
“We feel if we can tidy up on the concentration element, we can turn some of these losses and draws into victories.
“Does our goal tally have to improve? Yes.
“Have we got players who can score goals? Yes.
“As long we are creating the chances, I really believe we have got players in the squad who can score goals.”
There is work to be done now, fires to be fought. Bolton can tell them it takes time, but Moore does not see patience as a virtue.